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Who are the Arab American Republicans in Congress?
By Ivey Noojin/Arab America Contributing Writer
Before 2001, there were many Arab American Republicans. They welcomed support for their business enterprises and were socially conservative, due to conservative roots in the Arab world. During the presidential election for George W. Bush, the Arab American community was highly sought after for their votes. However, after Sept. 11, 2001, Arab American support for the GOP rapidly declined.
On Sept.11, 2001, terrorists attacked multiple landmarks across important cities in the U.S. As a result, many in the U.S. were biased against the Arab American and Muslim community. Many Arab Americans felt threatened due to the racism they were experiencing from Republican backlash directed against immigrants and people of color. As a result, there was growing support to the Democratic Party because of its policies of inclusion and protection of minority groups within the U.S.
During the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, 26 percent stated they were Republican and would likely vote for their party’s nominee, based on a poll from the Washington Watch. 60 percent would vote for Hillary Clinton, and 14 percent were undecided.
Arab American Republicans in Congress
In 2017, a year after the election of Donald Trump, six Arab Americans were elected to represent the 115th Congress. Of the six, five are Republicans. Rep. Ruben Kihuen from Nevada is the only Democrat. All of the congressmen are in the House of Representatives; there are currently no Arab American senators.
Darin LaHood (Illinois)
Darin LaHood has been the representative for the 18th District of Illinois since 2015. Before, he was an Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. and his state. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees taxation and trade, and the U.S. Joint Economic Committee with Cuba.
Darrell Issa (California)
Darrell Issa is not seeking re-election and has represented the 49th District of California since 2001. Before, he had enlisted in the Army and then was an entrepreneur and businessman. In 1994, three magazines named him the Entrepreneur of the Year. Now, he is a member of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives. Previously, Issa was the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has fought against human trafficking, especially along the border of the U.S., and is a protector of patents. He believes in low taxes and the free market.
Garret Graves (Louisiana)
The Sixth District of Louisiana elected Garret Graves for the first time in 2017. He is the chairman of the subcommittee within the Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure called Water Resources and Environment. He works closely with the regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency and is trying to limit the time it takes for the completion of a project. Graves has more than 20 years of experience with energy and water resources issues.
Justin Amash (Michigan)
In 2010, the Third District of Michigan elected Justin Amash to be their representative in Congress. His major goal as of late has been mandating transparency and accountability for social media platforms. He believes mass collection of phone records is unconstitutional and has fought against this action in the House of Representatives. Amash serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is the chair of the House Liberty Caucus, which seeks to return the Republican Party to its original platforms for limited government, free enterprise, and personal freedom.
Ralph Abraham (Louisiana)
The people of the Fifth District of Louisiana first voted Ralph Abraham into office in 2014. He is a member of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives due to his former status in the military. He is also in the Agriculture Committee and the Committee for Science, Space, and Technology.
In the election campaign for 2018, five Republicans are running for office. All of these potential congressmen and congresswomen are campaigning for the House of Representatives.
Darin LaHood and Justin Amash are running for reelection in Illinois and Michigan, respectively. Ralph Abraham and Garrett Graves are also running for reelection in different districts of Louisiana. They have already won their primaries, and the general election will happen at the beginning of November. Dan David is a newcomer who wishes to represent Pennsylvania. Below, you can read more about David. These men have already won the primaries in their states.
Dan David (Pennsylvania)
Dan David is an entrepreneur, cofounding an equities research firm, and business executive. Currently, he is lobbying Congress to impose more regulations against Chinese companies, since many have taken away money from U.S. investors in the stock market. A documentary regarding this issue called “The Chinese Hustle” features him, and you can watch the trailer here. He is a supporter of the State of Israel.
Currently, there are more Arab American Republicans than Democrats in Congress. However, the midterms in the wake of the Trump Presidency could change that. There are three candidates running for office who do not identify with either the Republican or Democratic parties, and there are several others who are running as Democrats.