This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.
An affluent suburb of Dallas may become the first American city to elect a mayor of Palestinian descent.
Richardson, a city of 100,000 in northern Texas, will decide May 11 whether to elect Amir Omar, a former city councilman believed to be the first Muslim-American elected to public office in the area. Should his campaign succeed, it appears Omar would be the first American of Palestinian background to serve as mayor of such a sizable US city.
A conservative Republican in his late 30s, Omar refers to himself on hiscampaign website as “living proof that the American Dream is alive and well.”
Born in Wisconsin and raised in Texas, Omar has worked primarily in telecommunications, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University.
His mother was born to an upper-middle-class family in Iran, and his father comes from a family of Palestinian farmers. They met while attending college in Arizona.
Their son, first elected to Richardson’s city council in 2009, previously ran unsuccessfully for the US House of Representatives in 2006 — a campaign that would have made him the first Iranian-American in Congress.
His work in local politics has been more popular with voters; he was re-elected in 2011 with 63 percent of the vote.
Click here to read more and watch Amir Omar’s campaign video.
© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.