3 vying for 19th District judge, 9 for 15th District in Aug. 2 primary election

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — As the Michigan primary election draws near, multiple state representative seats and the 19th District Court judge position will be on the Aug. 2 ballot.

For 19th District Court judge, Susan Dabaja, Gene Hunt and Abbie Bazzi are vying for two spots in the November general election.

Also in the city, six Democrats — Norman Alsahoury, Abdullah Hammoud, Roxanne McDonald, Brian Stone, Alex Shami and Jacklin Zeidan — and three Republicans — Terrance Gerin, Richard Johnson and Paul Sophiea — are competing for the 15th House District State runoff in November.

Included in the 9th House District race are Democrats Dustin Campbell, Tijuana Morris, Alicia Murphy, William Phillips, Gary Pollard, Regina Ross and Sylvia Santana, with Republican James Stephens running unopposed.

The 11th District features three candidates: Republicans Dale Prosser and Roberty Pope, and Democrat Jewell Jones running unopposed. Jones was chosen last month to run for the seat after state Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) died suddenly in June.

For the 13th District seat, Democrat incumbent Frank Liberati faces Rebecca Reed, while Republican Annie Spencer is unopposed.

All three candidates running for the seat of age-limited 19th District Court Judge William Hultgren have experience as attorneys.

Bazzi has practiced law for more than 24 years, handling more than 42,000 cases with UAW Ford as well as fraud, criminal and civil cases.

“The district court will be expected to handle a wide variety of civil and criminal matters for justice to be served,” she said during a candidate forum July 12. “It is important we elect a judge that has the legal experience and the life experience to handle them.”

Dabaja, City Council president, has been an attorney for families in the community for more than 12 years and has served on the council since 2013.

“I have represented a lot of Dearborn families over the years, helping them with the issues and concerns they are presented with,” she said during the forum. “I feel that it’s a wonderful opportunity to combine both my public service and my profession as an attorney.”

Hunt was raised in Dearborn and has handled more than 10,000 cases in the district court over 31 years as an attorney.

He expressed that the biggest areas to focus on as judge would be protecting the constitutional rights, treating everyone fairly and with respect, and separating repeat offenders from first-time offenders or have other issues.

“My commitment to the city has been there for over 30 years as a resident and lawyer in the district court,” Hunt said. “I know the ins and outs of the system and everyone from the court staff, officers, judges and prosecutor.”

The race for term-limited state Rep. George Darany’s 15th District seat is a crowded one.
On the Democratic side of the ballot, Hammoud, born and raised in Dearborn, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in public health and is a board member for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

His major focus areas are the economy, education, roads, healthcare, environment and veterans based, on speaking to residents.

“We need to improve our public transportation, lessening the amount of drivers on the roads and damage over time,” he said. “When individuals are able to easier navigate a community, small business start to come to our community and individuals outside the city want to come and spend money at our businesses.”

McDonald is a a trustee for the Dearborn Public Schools and Henry Ford College and has served on the HFC Foundation Board, with the Dearborn Goodfellows, and the Wayne County Association of School Boards.

Her list of issues includes union improvement, education, small business growth and veterans assistance.

“I am very aware about educational funding, and we are falling short,” McDonald said.
“They don’t take into consideration things like poverty and special needs and it does have to be equal across the board.”

A U.S. Navy veteran, Stone is the communications chairman of the Dearborn Democratic Club and a board trustee on the 12th District Democratic Party.

Stone sees infrastructure investment, mass transportation, education and veterans as the top areas of need.

“I got to see the best transit system in the world while stationed in Japan,” he said. “We need to invest in mass transit because we have an issue with attracting jobs and ensuring those least among us have the resources to shop and live their lives.”

Zeidan has served as a PTA president and small business owner while living in Dearborn for 24 years.

Women’s and veteran’s rights, economic development, education and the environment are the some of the biggest topics Zeidan said need attention.

“As a business owner, you have to think about the owner and employees with developing jobs,” she said. “Employment has changed over the years. Now we have families working in the minimum wage positions because trade jobs have left the area,” she said.

On the Republican side of the ballot, Sophiea, a Dearborn resident for 30 years, has earned two degrees in business and worked in the medical industry for more than 25 years.

He plans to focus on increasing skilled trade jobs and training, jobs, roads, public safety and healthcare careers, and manufacturing production.

“We are underfunded with the road package,” he said. “I would go to the drawing board because money will be spread between the 83 counties. If it was up to me we would go back to the drawing board and find something that is equitable.”

Alsahoury, Shami, Gerin and Johnson did not respond to messages by press time.

The Aug. 2 ballot will also include the renewal of a 3.5-mill tax levy to support city services, renewal of the 0.24-mill Wayne County Parks Millage and 0.1-mill regional zoo millage.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for all voters.

For more election information, go to Vote411.org or call the Dearborn City Clerk’s Office at 313-943-2030.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)

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