Yonkers local Mike Khader made history last week when he was elected Yonkers City Council President over incumbent Republican Liam McLaughlin. Born and raised in Yonkers, Khader is the first Arab-American to hold the position.
A former Central Intelligence Agency official, it is the first time Khader has held an elected position. He was inspired to run for the seat because of the opportunity to influence positive change in his hometown.
In an interview with Arab American News, Khader describes his motivation for seeking the council president seat.
“Public service is a privilege and an honor,” Khader said. “I felt that a positive change was needed in the city that I love and I felt that City Council President was the best option to make that positive impact.”
Connected to Community
City Council President Khader was born and raised in Yonkers to Jordanian parents. As a local resident and active member of the community, Khader’s connection to Yonkers was a primary reason he sought the council’s leadership position.
“I was born and raised in the southwest part of the city, which is a heavily minority area,” he said. “Once I started getting my message out there, there was a connection. […] They finally had a voice.”
As a resident and business owner in Yonkers, Khader is committed to his new role and the part he will play in improving the lives of native Yonkersites–as well as members of the immigrant communities. His leadership will emphasize acceptance and diversity.
“I believe Yonkers is the microcosm of this country,” Khader stated. “We’re not just a nation of immigrants, we’re a city of immigrants. We are all welcome. We are more alike than we are different and now every immigrant community has a seat at the table and will have a voice. Yonkers accepts diversity and that’s going to be a benchmark of the administration I want to build.”
Khader pulled ahead of McLaughlin to win his seat with 54 percent of the vote. According to the Westchester County Board of Elections, the unofficial total had McLaughlin with 14,139 votes and Khader with 16,673 votes to secure the win. As City Council President, Khader will serve a four-year term with the option to run for a second term.