TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There will likely be many candidates vying for governor of Michigan, but Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is trying to be America's first Muslim governor.
On Sunday, he sport at the United Muslim Association of Toledo's Unity Dinner.
El-Sayed is a Rhodes Scholar, doctor and former head of the Detroit Health Department. Now, he is focusing his attention full-time to his campaign.
"In the words of JFK, I'm not running to be a Muslim governor of anything. I'm running to be the best governor of my state," El-Sayed said. "People are not frankly interested as much as how I pray. They're more interested more in what I pray for."
Dr. S. Maseeh Rehman, head of the association, says El-Sayed's candidacy is exciting people of his faith. Many are now taking part in the democratic process for the first time.
"And I think it's time for us to take the next step and move forward and get involved in politics at all levels," Rehman said.
El-Sayed says he's taken his campaign to 90 cities in 45 Michigan counties. He has 2,500 volunteers and personally knocked on 80,000 doors.
El-Sayed believes a successful historic journey to the statehouse in Lansing convince voters he has solutions to improving the state's economy, schools and health care. He also says protecting the Great Lakes is also important to him.
"If we can solve those problems, I don't think it matters if I'm Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist," El-Sayed said. "That we've got solutions to problems and we can come around into solving them."
El-Sayed has a long campaign ahead of him as Michigan's gubanatorial primary is in August.