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Michigan Doctor Wants To Be The First Muslim Governor In US History


The following is an excerpt from AMNA NAWAZALYSSA LAPERTOSA | December 19, 2017 | abcnews.go.com |

Abdul El-Sayed says America is ready for its first Muslim governor. He's thrown his hat in the ring in his home state of Michigan, banking on his advocacy for progressive policies like a single payer health care and legalizing marijuana to reap the tax benefits.

"Think about what it would mean for our country," El-Sayed said, "if one of the states that helped push Donald Trump over the edge turned around and elected a 33-year-old Muslim-doctor as governor."

A first-generation American, El-Sayed is also a former star athlete, Rhodes Scholar and university professor. He cut his teeth in public service as director of Detroit's public health system, a job he took on at just 30 years old. At the time, El-Sayed was working as a professor at Columbia University and became frustrated studying health disparities and feeling like he could not have an immediate impact.

"I really wanted to be a part of fixing the problem," he said. "I didn't feel a sense of urgency in the room. I think a lot of folks in the academy do great work and it matters, but they're so far removed from the people who suffer the disparities that they study. And I think when you take the time to expose yourself to that, the sense of urgency comes back."

After accepting the job as director of Detroit’s public health system, El-Sayed and his team instituted social programs that delivered free glasses to every child in the city that needed them, rebuilt the animal control system and created peer-mentorship programs for mothers who are newly pregnant.

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