DEARBORN — Council President Susan Dabaja kicked off her mayoral campaign with a fundraiser event at Byblos Banquet Center in Dearborn.
The event, which was held outdoors and observed CDC guidelines with mask requirements and social distancing, brought out supporters from all around the community.
Fellow Council member Leslie Herrick said that she wants to support Dabaja in her journey.
“Susan is a great leader,” she said. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure to work with her and I want to support her.”
Dearborn Heights Councilman Dave Abdallah also attended the event.
I have always liked her drive and her enthusiasm. She has always been bright and she is already running a great operation – Dave Abdallah, Dearborn Heights Councilman
“I have been supportive of and watched Susan since day one,” he said. “I have always liked her drive and her enthusiasm. She has always been bright and she is already running a great operation. She will do a great job, there’s no doubt about it.”
Sam Ellehaf, the CEO and president of Royal Furniture and Gift in Dearborn, described Dabaja as a really good friend.
“She is active in the community and doing a great job,” he said. “I know she will be helpful and great. She supports and cares for this community. She is the right candidate for mayor.”
Another local business owner, Bassam Saleh, said he has known Dabaja since entertaining her wedding.
“Susan is a part of the family,” he said. “She is a good person and is going to do a good job as mayor.”
Of all of the notable guests in attendance to show their support for Dabaja, her parents were the most proud.
“Her teachers at Salina Elementary always said she was a smart, forward girl,” Ali Dabja, her father, said. “She wouldn’t take no for an answer and she’s a people’s person. If I could describe her in one word it would be ‘truth.’ If I ever made a mistake, she would tell me. She’s not afraid to tell someone they’re wrong and she will always fight for the truth.”
Her mother, Samira, agreed, adding, “I always knew from the day she was born that she was going to be something.”
Dabaja’s brother, Mohamed, said he is excited for his sister.
“This is where I always knew she’d be,” he said. “She’s such a busy and dedicated woman, but she always makes time for family and community. She’s my Wonder Woman. She is Dearborn.”
The Dearborn Fire Local 412 Union also showed their support.
“After every election cycle, 412 will send out invitations to Dearborn’s newly elected officials to attend fire ops,” Firefighter Jamie Jent said. “It gives them an opportunity to see what a firefighter and paramedic go through in a day. Susan was the first one to accept the invitation and I thought to myself that ‘the nice lawyer wouldn’t last very long and it would make for a nice photo op.’ But to my surprise, she was tough and never showed an ounce of fear.”
She’s tenacious and shows a lot of initiative. She doesn’t back down from a challenge and earned our respect and continues to do so – Jamie Jent, firefighter
Jent also said that Dabaja worked alongside them and never quit.
“She didn’t just ‘talk the talk’, she’s extremely hard working,” he said. “She’s tenacious and shows a lot of initiative. She doesn’t back down from a challenge and earned our respect and continues to do so. She’s exactly the candidate we are going to need in these challenging times to come.”
Dabaja’s brother and sister-in-law, Jay and Hind Hammoud, said that she is the “safe choice.”
“She’s the best,” they said. “She has served this city well and she is the safe choice. She’s a family person. She is sincere, dedicated and honest, and treats everyone equally. She is the best candidate for mayor.”
Dabaja said during the event that she is happy and proud of the work that she has done to lead the city through the pandemic.
“I am happy and proud of the work that I have done to lead the city and our communities through this, including distributing PPEs, approving emergency funding and setting up an incredibly efficient vaccination center that is a model for our neighboring communities,” she said. “I stand before you as your Council president, as your candidate for mayor for the city of Dearborn, who has dedicated the last seven years of my public service career to our great city. During my tenure on City Council, I was afforded many great opportunities to advocate on your behalf and sit at the table where some of the most important decisions were being made.”
She’s my Wonder Woman. She is Dearborn — Mohamed Dabaja, Dabaja’s brother
Dabaja went on to reference some of her accomplishments as Council president.
“In every decision made, every meeting held, every vote that I took and every vote that I cast was made in the best interest of you, my fellow residents and the entire city of Dearborn,” she said. “Under my leadership, the Council has done some great things.
“Some of which include approving emergency funding during historic flooding in 2014 and during this pandemic, eliminating paid parking and allowing our business districts to rejuvenate, working to rejuvenate our downtowns and corridors, improving mobility and connectivity by adding bike lanes and trails, enabling the development of Wagner Place and the Dingell Transit Center, supporting public safety by ensuring adequate funding and training for our police and fire and taking steps to improve the air quality by successfully passing a first of its kind ordinance to help our Southend residents.”
Dabaja said she is the only candidate ready to lead on day one.
“What Dearborn needs is someone that can honor its legacy of innovation while carrying it into a new era,” she said. “I see a future where working families enjoy strong schools, safe streets and good jobs. A future where hard work and innovation fuel the economy.
“A future where we work together to make Dearborn an economic engine. An efficient and transparent government; a government that is diverse and future-oriented. That’s what Dearborn deserves. I know that I am the best candidate to lead our city into the future that works best for all of us.”
After the event, Dabaja told The Arab American News that she is humbled to see the outpouring of support and energy that has come together to rally behind her candidacy.
“Since I announced, and certainly today, I have had residents from across each end of our city reach out and voice their support,” she said. “Our fundraising efforts have been fruitful thanks to the generous donors that are invested in our city’s future. I will continue to run a grassroots campaign that is focused on the issues and my vision for Dearborn.”