Diana Saleh is an SMU alumni and running for the District 3 seat in the Arlington City Council with early voting beginning April 19-27 and election day on May 1.
Saleh is running against Dora Tovar and Alixis Lupien.
The Daily Campus talked to Saleh to ask questions of her reasons for running, her background and her experience at SMU.
Saleh is a first generation Palestinian American. She grew up in Jackson Heights in Queens, New York, which was a diverse and immersive experience and something Saleh credits to shaping her perspective.
She moved to Jordan for college and got immersed in her culture, which she felt “was the piece that she was lacking” as she got acquainted with her culture and learned Arabic. She moved back to the United States and pursued her MBA at SMU and became very involved in the Embrey Human Rights program.
Why City Council?
Saleh grew up in pre and post-9/11 and saw the calls for unity after this tragic event. However, she noticed that these calls for unity excluded key groups. Because of this, Saleh emphasizes inclusion and sees her campaign as a catalyst in creating that inclusion. With her business experience and with the human rights campaign, she wanted to advocate for her community and neighbors of Arlington and provide more representation for her age group.
Saleh has constructed her campaign on a community driven agenda and she wants to increase transparency by increasing conversation about how decisions on city council are made. She wants her constituents to know that their voice matters and that they can be involved in the process.
“If elected, I want to open all lines of communication for my community so they can let me know what they want to see the city council do,” she said.
Saleh highlights the “wealth of students” that UTA and the schools of Arlington have and can contribute to the city. She wants the students to be more involved with the city such as creating an innovation tank and creating mentorship programs to help students guide them through their careers. For high school students, Saleh wants to help guide high school students to paths beyond high school.
“I am the product of teachers and mentors who lifted me up and I want to give back to the students and talent in Arlington,” she said.
Small Business Help
With her experience in business, Saleh wants to provide the support they need whether it is the permitting process or providing loans as she views small businesses as the city’s “lifeline.” Looking beyond COVID, Saleh wants to look at how these businesses can diversify to protect them from any future uncertainties.