DEARBORN — Residents have a lot of decisions to make in the August 3 primary by narrowing down a large selection of mayoral and City Council candidates.
With the retirement of Mayor Jack O’Reilly, seven people submitted their names for the position, two of whom will advance to the general election in November.
City Council President Susan Dabaja is a lifelong resident of Dearborn and has been on the Council for seven years.
State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) has been a member of the Michigan House of Representatives since 2017.
Hussein Berry has been a member of the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education since 2016 and had previously served on the board from 2010 until 2014. He was also a candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives in 2012 and 2014, but lost in both runs.
Jim Parrelly, a financial planner, had previously run for mayor in 2017, but lost in the primary. He has stated that he wants a more diverse Dearborn.
Former Council President Thomas Patrick Tafelski, who lost the mayoral race in 2017 against O’Reilly, is trying again for the mayor’s seat.
Tafelski joined the City Council in 2001 and served until 2017. He was the Council president from 2007 until 2013.
Gary Woronchak, a local journalist, has served in both the State House and on the Wayne County Commission. He was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1998 and served three terms. He was later elected to the Wayne County Commission from 2004 until 2018. He was chairman from 2011 until 2018.
Kalette Shari Willis is the first Black woman to run for mayor of Dearborn.
City Clerk George Darany, a former Councilman and state representative, is running unopposed for reelection.
Darany has been city clerk since 2016. He’d previously served on the Dearborn City Council from 2007 until 2010, followed by six years as a state representative.
All seven City Council seats are up for election this year and 18 candidates seek to fill those seats. The top 14 from the primary will advance to the general election in November.
Incumbents Robert Abraham, who has served on the Council since 2002; Leslie Herrick, who has served on the Council since 2018; Mike Sareini, who has served on the Council since 2013, and Erin Byrnes, who has served on the Council since 2018, have all announced they’re seeking re-election.
Local attorney Jonathon Akkari is also vying for a seat.
Akkari is also a member of the activist group Accountability For Dearborn, which has been pushing for police reform in the city for nearly a year.
Silvio Davis, a personal lines supervisor at The Dearborn Agency, is also running.
Davis is the vice president of the Dearborn Goodfellows and president of the Hines Park PM Rotary Club.
Kamel Elkadri, a baseball coach and member of the traffic commission, announced his candidacy with a focus on safety, taxes and equal representation.
Khodr Farhat, a local activist with a focus on the disabled, is also running for one of the seven seats.
Farhat ran for school board last year and lost by 13 votes.
As a member of Michigan’s National Guard, Kamal Alsawafy said he believes he has very diversified and relevant qualifications.
Lola Elzein, a local business owner, announced her candidacy on Facebook, saying she knows what it takes to lead and manage.
Khalil Othman, a commissioner on the Recreations & Parks Commission, immigrated to Dearborn 17 years ago and said his drive and passion makes him the perfect candidate for a Council seat.
Mustapha Hammoud, born and raised in Dearborn, is an electrical engineer who has been working with Ford Motor Company for nearly a decade. He has been active in political and community affairs for several years. Hammoud said that he is running to use his experience and knowledge to ensure transparency, fiscal responsibility and better city services, among other goals he hopes to accomplish if elected to City Council.
Kenneth Paris, a longtime Dearborn resident, served 40 years with the Dearborn Police and U of M-Dearborn Public Safety. He ran unsuccessfully in 2017. Paris said he believes that he will bring a needed law enforcement perspective to address challenges facing Dearborn.
Ziad Abdulmalik, Saeid Mashgari Alawathi, Houda Berri, Gary Enos and Sam Luqman also have their names on the unofficial ballot, but no public information was provided.
Current Council members David Bazzy and Brian O’Donnell are not running for re-election and with Dabaja running for mayor, at least three brand new Council members will be elected.
Also on the ballot are the renewal of a six-year library millage and the creation of a Charter Revision Commission. If residents vote to have a Charter Revision Commission created in the primary, residents will then select the commission in November.