2021 : Dearborn Heights Elects First Muslim & Arab American Mayor

November 2, 2021 all-day

Dearborn Heights Mayor Bill Bazzi fended off a challenge from Council Chair Denise Malinowski Maxwell to continue being mayor, winning 73% of the vote for a partial term that ends this year and 72% for a full four-year term that follows.

Bazzi, 58, has been mayor since January, when he was appointed by the council.

An immigrant from Lebanon and a Marines veteran, he’s the first Muslim and first Arab American to be mayor of Dearborn Heights, where about one-third of the city is Arab American.

Bazzi was one of three Arab American Muslims to be elected mayor Tuesday in cities across metro Detroit, with Hamtramck and Dearborn voters also electing candidates who are Muslim and of Arab descent.

In December, the previous mayor since 2004, Daniel Paletko, died after testing positive for the coronavirus.

After he died, Malinowski-Maxwell, 61 , became interim mayor, according to city charter rules. In January, the city council voted 4-3 to appoint Bazzi as mayor.

Previously, Bazzi served with the U.S. Marines, joining the military branch after he graduated from Fordson High School in Dearborn. Bazzi served globally, helping allies and countering terrorism. He is active with veterans groups, serving as commander of the Dearborn Allied War Veterans Council.

After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, he also worked for Boeing and then Ford Motor Co. as a product development engineer, retiring after he became mayor this year.

Source : Niraj Warikoo, “Bill Bazzi defeats council chair, becomes first Muslim elected mayor in Dearborn Heights”, Detroit Free Press, November 3, 2021.