Yousef Rabhi is a Democrat running for State House in the 53rd District. This is his submission for WEMU's 2016 edition of "Soapbox Summer."
Hello, my name is Yousef Rabhi and I’m currently serving as vice-chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. I’m running to be your next state representative from the 53rd District in Ann Arbor.
I’m running because I believe in a better Michigan. I believe in a Michigan where we put our kids first and fund our public education system, both K-12 and our colleges and universities. The future of our state is our children. I also believe in a Michigan where we fight to protect the environment that sustains us. We need to protect our Great Lakes and the many beautiful and unique ecosystems that make our state so special. We need to fight for clean energy, clean water, clean air for future generations to come. I believe in a Michigan where equality and equity is the law of the land, where we can fight for equal rights for everyone. Where no one can be fired from their job or discriminated from housing based on who they love or who they are. And finally, I want to fight for a Michigan economy that works for everyone.
But in order for us to address these issues, there are some things that need to change with our political process and our democracy right here in Michigan. First of all we need to address the issue of transparency in Lansing. We live in a state that was ranked 50th out of 50 states in the nation for governmental transparency. We live in a state where the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the governor or the legislature. That needs to change. The people of Michigan deserve to know what is going on in their state government. We also live in a state where our democracy is under attack. We need to fix the way that our legislative districts are drawn by creating an independent, non-partisan redistricting process. We need to reform the role of money in politics by decreasing contribution limits for Political Action Committees.
If we can restore transparency and trust in government, if we can bring about a strengthening of our democracy, I know that together there is no limit to what we can do. I know this, because I’ve seen it. Over the last six years, serving the people of Washtenaw County as your County Commissioner, I have seen our community come together to fight for economic and social justice. To fight for balanced municipal budgets. To fight and advocate for everyone in our community no matter who they are, or who they love, or where they come from, or what the color of their skin is. Because together as a community we can achieve great things. So please join me in this campaign. Come visit us at voterabhi.com, and join our many supporters including our current state representative Jeff Irwin, our state senator Rebekah Warren, our state representative Adam Zemke, and many other elected officials, community leaders, and organizations across the state. So please join me, as I look to the future. The future of Michigan is bright. If we all work together, there is no end to what we can do. And I know that together, we can move Michigan forward.