DEARBORN — Dearborn City Council President Pro-Tem Erin Byrnes has announced her candidacy for the newly drawn 15th State House District.
“Today, I filed to run for state representative in the new 15th District,” Byrnes wrote in a Facebook post. “This District encompasses precincts 33-50 in Dearborn and the majority of Dearborn Heights, and you’ll see me on the August ballot.”
The newly drawn 15th District would represent West Dearborn and all of Dearborn Heights, areas previously covered by former State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, elected to serve as Dearborn’s seventh mayor, and State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster).
Jones was removed from all committees in September, with no word on his political future following serious charges from a vehicle incident along I-96 in Livingston County last year.
Jones recently discussed his recovery and mental health challenges in an interview with WDIV, but has not announced plans for reelection as of yet.
Mayor Hammoud has already vacated his seat and March 1 primary and May 3 general elections have been set to fill the remainder of his term, which ends this year. So far three candidates have announced their intentions to run, Democrats Alabas Farhat and local attorney Jeffrey Pepper and Republican Ginger Shearer, formerly known as Virginia Polk.
The area Hammoud’s vacated seat currently covers, which is most of Dearborn, will most closely resemble the newly drafted Third District. No candidates have yet come forward to announce their intention to run for that district in the November election.
The Dearborn and Dearborn Heights area is now slated to fall under entirely new district maps, finalized by the bipartisan Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) in late December. The Commission finalized maps that were supposed to become law on Dec. 31, but its decisions now face a legal challenge, with more challenges expected in the future.
Final drafts of the redistricting maps can be viewed on the MICRC website at www.michigan.gov/micrc.
Byrnes was born and raised in Dearborn and graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn before going to graduate school and serving as a middle school special education teacher in New York City from 2008-2010. Since returning to Dearborn, she has worked as an educator at the University of Michigan, served as chair of the City Beautiful Commission and was a member of the Downtown Dearborn Promotion Committee prior to being elected to the City Council in 2018.
“I am excited to apply all that I’ve learned on the local level to advocating for our communities in Lansing,” her post on Facebook read. “As always, you will be my top priority. My team and I are ready to get to work, addressing the issues that matter most. I will work hard to earn every vote and will continue to be a neighbor you can trust, a leader you can count on.”
Byrnes is the second person to announce their candidacy for the full-term seat for the August primary, following the announcement from local community activist and Michigan Department of State employee Bilal Hammoud that he is also running.
If Byrnes is elected to the State House, she will vacate her seat on the City Council and Councilwoman Leslie Herrick would become Council president pro-tem. Gary Enos, the eighth highest vote-getter in the November 2020 election, would then take over the vacant City Council seat.
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