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Mayoral races across the country: A look at who will lead America's cities

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: People visit a voting site at a YMCA on Election Day, November 02, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Over 30,000 New Yorkers have already cast their ballots in early voting for a series of races including the race for mayor in which Democrat Eric Adams is running against Republican and Curtis Sliwa. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 02: People visit a voting site at a YMCA on Election Day, November 02, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Over 30,000 New Yorkers have already cast their ballots in early voting for a series of races including the race for mayor in which Democrat Eric Adams is running against Republican and Curtis Sliwa. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Eight out of every 10 Americans — 80% — live in metropolitan counties. That is, in major cities and their suburbs.

And those Americans went to the polls yesterday to choose their next municipal leaders. Mayors, district attorneys, city council members, school board members.


Today’s show looks at city elections in Minnesota, Washington, Florida, New Mexico, New York … beginning with a brief stop in Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn is a Detroit suburb, and home to Ford Motor Company’s world headquarters.

Stephen Henderson, a host at Detroit’s NPR station WDET, says when he was growing up in Detroit, he knew Dearborn as a mostly white city with an openly racist mayor, Orville Hubbard.

Hubbard was Dearborn’s longest serving mayor – in the post from 1942 to 1978.

In the years since, the city has changed significantly. Last year, a statue of Hubbard was removed from outside the Dearborn Historical Museum.

Today, Arab Americans make up a significant portion of Dearborn’s population. And this week, the city elected its first Arab American mayor, Abdullah Hammoud.

Stephen Henderson says it’s an inflection point in Dearborn’s history:

“He was not shy about tying his candidacy to the demographic change of the city and telling everybody that, you know, it’s going to be OK that they wanted to govern together,” he says. “He wants to govern in an inclusive way.”

This hour, On Point: Mayoral elections across the country this week. We take a look at who will next lead America’s cities, and the impact those mayoral races have on national politics.

Guests

Anthony Brooks, senior political correspondent at WBUR. (@anthonygbrooks)

Jon Collins, senior reporter on race, class and communities at Minnesota Public Radio. (@JonSCollins)

David Hyde, reporter at KUOW, an NPR station in Seattle. (@hyded)

Rose Scott, host of “Closer Look with Rose Scott” on WABE, a NPR station in Atlanta, Georgia. (@waberosescott)

Dave Debo, news director at WBFO, an NPR station in Buffalo. (@Debonews)

Also Featured

Stephen Henderson, host of “Detroit Today” on WDET since 2015. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked for the Detroit Free Press, the Baltimore Sun and the Chicago Tribune. (@SHDetroit)

Luis Hernandez, host of “Sundial” on WLRN. (@WLRNSundial)

Marisa Demarco, editor-in-chief of SourceNM, a non-profit news organization in Albuquerque. (Marisa Demarco)

From The Reading List

WBUR: “Michelle Wu elected as Boston’s first woman mayor in historic victory” — “Michelle Wu, the 36-year-old daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, made history Tuesday night, defeating fellow city councilor Annissa Essaibi George to become the first woman and the first Asian American elected mayor of Boston. For nearly 200 years, Boston has elected only white men to the top office.”

MPR News: “Frey wins second term as Minneapolis mayor” — “Although he didn’t get enough first-choice votes to win outright, Mayor Jacob Frey prevailed in further vote counting in the city’s ranked choice system to win reelection.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.