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Location: Birmingham, MI, United States

Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Text of Speech Delivered by Councilman John Akouri

Swearing-In Address at City Hall Council Chambers on Monday, November 10, 2003 – 7:30 PM
I would first like to thank God for all of the blessings he has bestowed upon my family and me. Secondly, I could not have done this without the love and support of my family: my father Fouad, my mother Sylvia, my sister Lyla, my brothers James and Michael, my sister-in-law Karen and my niece and nephew Annabella and Jouney.

Next, I take great pride in thanking my campaign volunteers, aides, contributors and grass roots activists who diligently worked night and day for the last three months on our campaign. Their tireless efforts and hard work are a testament to a candidate in which they truly believed in and spread his message of vision and leadership in the 21st century throughout the community and for that I will forever be grateful to them. They have spent countless hours putting up signs, distributing literature, writing friend to friend cards, making phone calls, sending emails, stuffing, stamping, licking, folding, attending debates, and staying on message – all in a first class, clean and straight forward fashion. Thank you!

Additionally, I am honored and filled with a sense of everlasting gratitude to the SIX former Mayors of Farmington Hills who stood at the forefront of my campaign. I wish to also thank those who had the courage early on to make endorsements of my candidacy in this race from the beginning. I am grateful to the Realtors Association, the Chamber of Commerce, leading Members of our Boards & Commissions, numerous Oakland County Commissioners and the Farmington Observer Newspaper.

And last but most certainly not least, I would like to thank the 4000 residents of Farmington Hills who cast their ballots in my name last week for election to the City Council. Republican and Democrat, Male and Female, Black and White, Red and Yellow, Christian, Muslim and Jew. Our city’s neighborhoods are filled with a rich cultural, racial and religious diversity and I am honored and humbled that they have placed their vote of confidence in me to serve these next to years on their city council.

My friends, there is no room for partisan politics in city government. For that matter, there is no room for partisanship of any kind in city government. There is only room for good government, government of the people, by the people and for the people.

To those who supported me from the start, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to all others, I invite you to meet with me, share with me your thoughts and know that I will always have an open-door policy. After all, we are all residents of this great city and we all can agree that our interests lie within the future of our city and its inhabitants.

When I started this campaign for the City Council, I said then and I maintain today, that I want to make government rest in the hands of the people. At that time, I set the tone of our campaign for city council. A tone that resonated throughout our supporters, neighbors, family and friends and then again throughout the community once it became official. A tone that promised a clean campaign – one that dealt with issues, experience, loyalty and community service.

I had grown tired and weary of others talking about what’s wrong with Farmington Hills and our elected officials and our public safety and our city government. I thought it was high time we started talking about what’s RIGHT with Farmington Hills and continue the work to foster economic growth and prosperity for all residents of our city, to strengthen the society we direct for our youth, children and families, to ensure first-rate public services, safeguard the city, enhance the quality of life for its residents and work to increase our property values.

As I walked the streets and neighborhoods of our fair city, I had the opportunity to meet with a great number of our residents. Many of whom expressed a concern that a division exists between residents and their leaders. Comments suggested that there is an arrogance that is parlayed among council members, that all motions are rubber-stamped, that a wall exists between council members and their constituency. As your newest council member my friends, I will do everything in my power to tear down that wall.

That is why, as a duly elected and sworn-in Member of this council, I am moving forward with my pledge to convene a Citizens Summit. As we took this message through the streets of our fair city, door by door, the response I received in laying out this vision was truly over whelming. And so, in the weeks and months ahead, I plan to meet with our accomplished city manager Steve Brock and my distinguished colleagues on council to prepare for and plan a Citizens Summit, Neighborhood Forum, Town Hall Meeting, call it what you will, this will serve as an opportunity for us to hear the needs and charter the goals of our town’s residents and neighbors, in an effort to ensure their voices are heard on council.

Through its vote last week, the electorate has assembled a great team of professionals to lead this city and I look forward to serving on council with my longtime friend and our new Mayor Vicki Barnett, Counselor’s Ellis and Brickner, Dr’s Massey and Bruce and Ms Oliverio. Again, I am honored and humbled to be a part of this community’s distinguished city council. A community that has literally watched me grow right before its very eyes. As a high school student, you have seen me perform on stage and local theatre, out of college, you tuned in Thursday nights at 8:00 PM to watch me live on local access cable television, and most recently, as spokesman to our Congressman Joe Knollenberg, you read my statements and quotes in newspapers and magazines.

In a recent letter to the local newspapers, a group of county commissioners urged residents to vote for their ‘hometown son’, well I proudly accept that distinction evidenced by your message in sending me to serve on council and I will not let you down.

Thank you again and God bless you.

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">