An Egyptian-American doctor could become the United States’ first Muslim governor if he is elected in 2018.
Abdul El-Sayed, 32, a Rhodes scholar, was appointed as executive director of the Detroit Department of Health & Wellness Promotion in 2015. El-Sayed recently resigned from his post to run his gubernatorial campaign in Michigan.
If elected, he would face the major water and economic crises in Detroit and Flint, the two poorest cities in the country.
El-Sayed has officially announced his campaign, claiming that the time to act is now and that Michigan’s shared future is what unites its people.
The would-be governor said his focus “is, has always been, and always will be people, their opportunities, their passions, their perspectives. The things that we can do for them, together”
“My work has always been about building and leading the kinds of institutions that create opportunity for real people by breaking down barriers they face,” he said. “That work has never been more important than it is today. The politics of fear and hatred threaten to divide us.”
During a speech to a crowd at Detroit’s Eastern Market, El-Sayed said that some people believe they can make the country great again by claiming that people who “look like me” do not belong here and that they should not get involved.
“We are not sitting on the sidelines,” he said. “We must act. We cannot wait until our children are poisoned or their schools are shut down.”
El-Sayed, who holds a doctorate in public health, is known in Detroit as a strong leader in the fight for environmental justice. He has noted that his platform will reflect his values of equity and inclusion.
According to El-Sayed, his decision to run was influenced by concerns over state leadership following the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, as well as policies being implemented in Washington, D.C., under President Trump.
El-Sayed is not a fan of Trump, and claims citizens of his state are having “buyer’s remorse.” In a separate interview, he claimed that Trump’s decisions “are at odds with deeply held American values, and distractions from real issues.”
H/T: The Detroit News
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