"I'm proud of my faith, and I'm proud of who I am. I'm not leaning away from it at all," [Abdul El-Sayed] tells me over the phone. I didn't change my name. I didn't shave my beard. My wife wears a hijab. But it's not what's going to build an economy. It's not what's going to rebuild our schools or address our public health challenges."
Part of why he's entering politics is to prove that politicians don't have to fit the old white man mould.
"For me," El-Sayed says, "There is a responsibility to stand up and say, 'Look, whichever color I am and however I pray, I think I've got a skill set that my state needs right now.'"
READ MORE ABOUT ABDUL EL-SAYED, WHO IS RUNNING TO BE GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN AND WHAT IT TAKES TO RUN FOR OFFICE AS A MUSLIM AMERICAN CANDIDATES OVER AT VICE.