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Millionaire Democrat Shri Thanedar elected to Michigan State Legislature

Shri Thanedar, an Indian-origin millionaire businessman who ran for Governor two years ago, has been elected to the House of Representatives in Michigan with 93 per cent votes.

Thanedar, 65, also a scientist, raised a record-breaking $438,620, primarily from his own wealth, in the state House primary against six other opponents of the Democratic Party.

The former gubernatorial hopeful cashed in on his high name familiarity after he moved from Ann Arbor to Detroit after losing the 2018 primary. His campaign two years ago featured a heavy dose of “Shri for We” television ads.

He won from the 3rd District of Michigan with 93 per cent of the total votes.

Thanedar had spent almost $10 million of his own fortune to finish third behind Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Abdul El Sayed in the 2018 gubernatorial primary, but he won the most votes in Detroit.

Originally from Karnataka’s Belgaum, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at 18 and master’s degree from University of Bombay. Later, he migrated to the US in 1979 to pursue higher studies from University of Akron and later University of Michigan.

Thanedar told the media in a recent interview that he began campaigning last fall prior to the pandemic and has spent time during the outbreak passing out masks, hand sanitizer and door knockers.

He said that he wants to tackle a long list of challenges plaguing his district, including blight, water shutoffs, foreclosures, crime and unemployment.

“I’m seeing people have no hope. Conditions are really bad and nothing has changed in years. People are disenfranchised. I’ve slept and ate on the floor, with no running water,” Thanedar said, referring to his upbringing in India.

“I understand the pain of poverty,” he said.

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Muslim Americans could determine who wins Michigan — and the election

Dearborn, MI: When Dr. Mahmoud Al-Hadidi casts his ballot in the November election, there is one issue that rises above all others as he makes his choice — respect.

“In this election, honestly, respect and recognition,” the emergency room physician in Michigan told VOA. “The Muslim community would like to be acknowledged as part of this great American nation, and not as an alien culture to this nation.”

Al-Hadidi supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 and Gretchen Whitmer as Michigan’s governor in 2018. But this time around, he isn’t sure if he’ll support Joe Biden over President Trump.

One of his concerns is the U.S. government’s “Terrorist Screening Database” which many Muslim Americans feel targets innocent members of their community. A subset of the database is the “no fly” list of individuals barred from boarding commercial flights.

“Definitely that list should be updated,” Al-Hadidi said. “Those who are wrongfully on that list should have their dignity back and should be removed.”

“You’ve got to tell people something to excite them to go out and vote,” said Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News. “Just because Biden is not Trump is not a good reason for me to go out and vote.”

While Muslim Americans make up about 1% of the overall U.S. population, they have an outsized influence in Michigan, a battleground state that President Trump won in 2016 by just over ten thousand votes.
While the state’s 270,000 registered voters of the Muslim faith could impact the outcome of this year’s presidential race, their preferences are just as diverse as their community.

“Some members of our community can believe that Trump is good on the economy, on business,” Siblani said. “But many of us want from Biden to hear some commitment to them to excite them to go out and vote because, frankly, under Obama-Biden, Muslims were discriminated against [as well].”
Siblani adds that many are outraged over Trump’s Muslim ban— a ban Biden has pledged to end. At the same time, he said there is recognition and support for Trump’s efforts to promote peace and reduce U.S. troop levels in the Middle East.

Epidemiologist Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, who ran against Whitmer in the Democratic primary in 2018, differs: “It’s not that people are deciding between Biden and Trump. Often times it’s between Joe Biden and not voting.”

While no poll of Muslim Americans has been issued in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, previous surveys have shown the community backing Democrats more often than Republicans.
Sourced from Voice of America

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