[Last night, I was sworn in as the new Mayor of College Park. I made the following remarks at the ceremony]
Good evening, College Park! Thank you all for being here. I am honored by your presence and grateful for the incredible privilege of serving you as the new Mayor of College Park.
I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to our residents for trusting me with this responsibility. I want to thank the community for your patience in the past two and a half months. As we all had to process many complex thoughts, we went through a period of uncertainty. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity and move the City forward. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, Councilmembers Ms. Mitchell, Ms. Kennedy, and Mr. Haddad, for running spirited campaigns and giving our residents choices during the election and engaging them in dialogue. I want to thank Mayor ProTem Mitchell for serving as the acting Mayor during this transitional period.
Tonight, I am also grateful to my family, my wife, my sons, and their families, Campaigning isn’t easy, so thank you for your sacrifices and for being with me every step of the way. I am glad to have you by my side as we begin this journey.
I am immensely grateful to all the dedicated volunteers and supporters who contributed their time, energy, and unwavering belief in our shared vision. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I also want to take a moment to reflect on my own journey. Growing up in a foreign land, my mother was a schoolteacher, and my father was a humble railway clerk. They both struggled a lot to raise me and my siblings in a small house without many basic amenities we take for granted. This experience allowed me to appreciate the value of hard work, be thankful, and aspire to excel higher in my life, to pursue my doctorate degree, and then cross the Atlantic in search of the American dream.
Along the line, I am incredibly grateful to this country and my neighbors for your love, acceptance and support over the years and for allowing me to serve you. I wasn’t born in this country, I wasn’t raised in this country. I am an immigrant, I am a person of color, and I am a Muslim. Yet you all entrusted me with the biggest opportunity to serve you. By electing me, you have genuinely shown the best of College Park – a truly inclusive, diverse and welcoming community that can be a model for other communities in this country.
To our residents, in the next few days and weeks, I’ll be meeting many of you. You will see me at your civic association meetings, the town halls, the farmers’ markets, and the boards and committee meetings. Many of you are still recovering from the shock that we all just went through. So I want to be on your side as we go through this journey and come out strong and resilient. But most importantly, I want to be in touch with you to hear from you – to get your ideas to move College Park forward.
I am incredibly grateful that so many of you voted for me. But I also want to recognize those of you who chose not to vote for me. Please note – whether you voted for me or not, I will be at your service.
And I’ll be at your service regardless of where you live in our beautiful City – whether in Sunnyside in the north or Calvert Hills in the south – whether in College Park Woods on the west or the College Park Yarrow and Estates on the east. Or Hollywood, Berwyn, Lakeland, or the UMD campus in the middle.
My passion is to hear from you and get things done. When you will ask me something – whether it’s a small or a big one – I may or may not be able to do it, but please know that – I’ll try my best to make it happen! So please keep your ideas coming.
But I also ask you all a favor. Whether I am doing my job right or not, please advise me how I can do better. Please make me accountable for the trust you’ve put in me. We want to take this journey together.
To my City Council colleagues, I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a wonderful team. As a Mayor, my job will be to elevate each one of you, because I truly believe that good leadership is about lifting others up and getting things done as a team. So if any of you on the Council have any idea or opportunity about any part of College Park, please let me know. I will work hard with you as your partner to bring your idea to a reality.
To our wonderful City staff, I want to take a moment to express my deepest appreciation for the hard work and dedication you bring to our beloved City. You are the ones who tirelessly run the engine of College Park, and sometimes we selfishly take the credit of your hard work. As the newly elected Mayor, I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside such a talented and committed team and to make many wonderful things to happen.
We also see many wonderful opportunities ahead of us. We can grow College Park with smart economic development, especially in the Discovery District. We should all be excited to see the Purple Line being built. As Route 1 in south College Park is being redeveloped, we should keep advocating Route 1’s redevelopment in north College Park, while making sure to account for residents’ needs and traffic concerns. I want to see a respectful and strong partnership with the UMD. The University is a pool of talent, and I will work with the University to use that talent to benefit our long-time residents. We should continue to explore ways to bring more affordable housing to College Park. I will also work hard to bring more educational opportunities for all, especially our school students. And I will also ensure that our seniors are supported and valued members of our community.
In conclusion, I am humbled and honored to serve as your Mayor, and I pledge to work tirelessly to make College Park an even better place to call home.