Salman Bhojani, the first Muslim to be elected to public office in Euless, took the oath of office Tuesday.
“We’ve made history,” Bhojani said. “I am the first minority and the first Muslim to be elected.”
Bhojani said he is there to represent everyone in Euless, including those who did not vote for him.
“I will make sure that I am worthy of their trust,” he said. “I am the first minority elected in Euless. I have a lot of burdens on my shoulders to do things in the right way .”
State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, conducted Bhojani’s swearing-in ceremony, and presented the new council member with a gavel from Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and Anchia. He also received a resolution from U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas.
Anchia and Bhojani two became friends while practicing law at the Haynes and Boone law firm. Anchia praised Bhojani as a good leader who is a parent, attorney and scout leader.
“I too am the son of immigrants. We shared our experiences and bonded,” Anchia said.
“I think Euless is getting a man of very high character and a family man, a Boy Scout leader and an entrepreneur. He embodies not only the values of this country but also of this city. They are getting a great American.”
Bhojani defeated conservative candidate Molly Maddux in the Place 6 race by 37 votes after a contentious campaign where Bhojani received harsh criticism from Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, who wrote on his Facebook page that Bhojani is Muslim and had a dangerous agenda. In his post, Stickland said that Bhojani is an attorney, lifelong Democrat and someone who will raise taxes.
Bhojani said he is eager to put the campaign behind him and work hard to get things done as a positive role model.
He added that Tuesday’s swearing-in was about American values
“It was not about faith, it was not about where I came from,” he said. “We are forgetting what those American values are. We are really becoming more intolerant.
“Most Americans are immigrants. If you go down we all immigrated from Europe and other places in the world. We have to be accepting of one another. There are positive things about diversity and if you are united with diversity, you can use it a positive force.”
Bhojani, 38, at attorney who immigrated from Pakistan in 1999, started out mopping gas station floors before owning two stores while in law school. He has served on the city’s park board for four years.
According to U.S. Census figures, 33 percent of the population in Euless is non-white.