Abdul-el-Sayed, primary candidate for the gubernatorial race visited Traverse City on Sunday Oct 8. Abdul visited us previously on April 17 and you can read about that visit and his background in Sylvia McCullough’s blog here:
I will try not to repeat the previous blog and instead invite the reader to check it out for Abdul’s background.
Abdul is a very personable, engaging, and well-spoken candidate. He is very well educated as he was a Rhodes Scholar, earning a doctorate from Oxford University and a medical degree from Columbia University. It is impossible to miss his feeling for people and his comfort with a multi-cultural environment. He began his talk asking the audience “what keeps you up at night. He established a mind share with the audience each of the issues raised.
Abdul spoke to a near full house at the Grand Traverse Resort. He brought with him a young, energetic support team of volunteers.
Abdul sees our government as failing to meet the needs of the people. Examples he cited included:
10% of Michiganders stopped looking for work because they are frozen out of the economy.
Michigan is not investing in education.
Michigan is continuing to give tax breaks for corporations and not getting benefits in return.
He sees our institutions crumbling “left and right”.
Abdul draws from a life experience where education was the key to personal and economic growth. His family were immigrants; his grandfather sold vegetables in the Alexandria fish market, his father came here on scholarship to study engineering at Wayne State. He sees investing in education as essential to the people of Michigan, and believes we are failing in this effort.
Abdul feels that education has to focus on both the college bound and those who need the associate training for other career paths. He pointed out that only 35% of young people are bound for traditional 4 year programs and we need to provide for the other 65% with proper career paths and education.
He believes in public not-for-profit education and felt that we should get out of a model where we have public financing of for-profit charter schools. His plan would end public support of for-profit charter schools in two years.
On Public Health:
As a public health director, Abdul gained considerable insight in the impacts government has on the health and well being of citizens. He pointed out that people in Oakland County have a 10 year greater life expectancy than people in Detroit which he attributes to jobs, living wages, and access to health care.
Abdul became Detroit Health Commissioner in 2015. That office had previously been shut down as a public office under the city’s emergency management. He had to rebuild the department from scratch. He sites examples of success including instituting a program providing eye exams and glasses for all students and testing all Detroit schools for lead.
On Gun Control:
Abdul said, “We need to bring the conversation to the center. Guns are a leading cause of death for young men in parts of the state.” He pointed out that mass shootings are not where the mass of shootings happen and sited guns in domestic violence as a particular problem. He favors a ban on assault rifles and suggested that their name implied their lack of legitimate purpose.
On managing a gerrymandered legislature:
A questioner asked, “How are you going to deal with our gerrymandered legislature and senate.” Abdul highlighted the efforts to fight gerrymandering and applauded that effort. He stated, “It is most important to fix governance.” (not government) He opposed term limits as he feels this makes legislators less invested. He cited the problem that money has taken over and pledged to decline corporate donations to his campaign.
Abdul El-Sayed is an inspiring speaker and won a standing ovation at this meeting. You can learn more on his website: