City Council Candidate Questionnaire

Erin Byrnes

Healthy Dearborn is a vibrant community coalition that has partnered with the City of Dearborn since 2015 to create a culture of health in Dearborn by working to reduce health disparities through active living and healthy eating strategies. For more on Healthy Dearborn, please visit our website: How do you see your Mayoral administration or Dearborn’s City Council working with Healthy Dearborn? And what specific ideas do you have for implementing Healthy Dearborn initiatives? *

During my first term on City Council, I supported the Multimodal Transportation Plan and the Healthy Streets Initiatives. Moving forward, I envision City Council and our next Mayor partnering with community members to advance the Multimodal Transportation Plan, to enhance access to walking paths, bike trails and lanes, and walkable city streets. Together, we can launch the city into the future, as Dearborn has the potential to be an innovative mobility hub and model for other cities.

The implementation of Healthy Dearborn initiatives is critical to our overall success as a community, as we work to ensure an active population focused on physical and mental health. A holistic approach to wellness that includes a variety of transportation methods, healthy eating and access to clean air and water, along with outdoor recreation opportunities is key to our success moving forward.

What do you see as Dearborn’s biggest health challenges and Dearborn’s biggest health assets? How can we best leverage our assets to address our challenges? *

Dearborn's biggest health challenges are air pollution and a city layout that does not always allow for accessibility in terms of walking and biking, and travel for folks with disabilities other than by car. The city is also home to one of the world's largest automakers, and their creative minds are seeking out news ways to move people and make transit cleaner in terms of electric-powered vehicles. Dearborn can and should be known as the transit capital of the world, and we can leverage the talent and resources already present in the city to provide innovative options for people. City government must also continue to review and strengthen our existing air quality ordinance, based on feedback from residents and the city staff who are monitoring activity. Clean air is critical to a thriving, health community.

Dearborn's greatest health assets include our pro-active community members who are focused on promoting wellness, and our access to outdoor recreational spaces including our parks and pools. Access to existing resources, and a willingness by community members to push for greater positive change are two things Dearborn has going for it. As a Council member, I will continue to support investments in infrastructure such as parks, pools and roads, while working with others to deliver results based on new ideas. Sustainability is key, and the use of recycled/compostable materials along with the harnessing of solar and wind power, will help us create a bright future for everyone who lives, works and plays in our city.

Do you believe that "Health in all Policies," which is the use of health assessment tools to guide decisions on major civic projects and policy decisions, should be implemented in Dearborn? Please explain why, either way. *

I support a holistic definition of public health, and using health assessment tools to guide decision-making in city government. Public health and safety go hand-in-hand, and Dearborn must work to achieve both on behalf of our residents. This means assessing where we are now, and what we need to do to grow and deliver more effective policies into the future. The use of health assessment tools will allow the city to pivot and keep residents healthy in the face of unexpected challenges, as we have seen over the last year. As a Council member, I am always looking for helpful data points and fresh perspectives on how we can best protect and empower the people of Dearborn.

Dearborn’s Multimodal Transportation Plan (MMTP) ( was developed with significant community involvement, including Healthy Dearborn, and was adopted by the Dearborn City Council on October 6, 2020. How do you see the implementation of the MMTP fitting into your community health priorities as City Council Member? *

I was proud and excited to support the adoption of the Multimodal Transportation Plan in 2020, and I refer to the plan often when talking with residents about the future of the city. As a Council member, I see the MMTP as a guiding tool that I will use to inform my decisions around funding for infrastructure and support of projects within our business districts. I also see the MMTP as a glimpse into the future of what Dearborn can be with regard to mobility options, and being a city that is truly welcoming and accessible to all.

The Multimodal Transportation Plan is also about equity, and connecting our neighborhoods throughout the city, which is something I am very passionate about. The MMTP ultimately promotes a sense of community by providing points of connection for folks, and as a Council member, the MMTP is critically important as we look to strengthen our community.