“When you’re called to service, you serve,” says Michigan’s first Muslim candidate for governor

May 17, 2017
Originally published on August 10, 2017 4:51 pm

Congressman Dan Kildee's decision to not seek the Democratic nomination for governor has changed the playing field for existing and potential candidates.

And that includes Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.

He stepped down earlier this year as Detroit's public health director to run for governor, joining a Democratic field that includes former State Senator Gretchen Whitmer.

Dr. El-Sayed joined Stateside to talk about how his role of building Detroit's public health department will serve him in his goal of becoming not only the youngest governor in the nation (he's 32), but the first Muslim governor.

El-Sayed talks about overcoming prejudice with a personal example. One of his patients told him he did not want to be treated by a Muslim doctor. He says the lessons learned from that situation will be important in his goal of winning over voters who might be apprehensive about a Muslim governor. Never mind the additional challenge of winning over voters in a state that went for Donald Trump in the last presidential election.

"If you are willing to listen, if you are really about solving problems, then people don't really care what you look like or what your faith is," El-Sayed said. "They care a lot more about what you want to do for them and their families."

Listen to the full interview above to hear about Abdul El-Sayed's top campaign issues and why he believes having a strong economy and protecting the environment can be done.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)

Copyright 2017 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.