Arab American Members of Congress

Rep. Ralph Abraham is a freshamn Republican congressman representing Louisiana's 5th district. Dr. Abraham is a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and is the chairman of the subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, a position rarely achieved by freshmen members of Congress. Dr. Abraham is a veteran himself after serving in the Army Reserves, the Mississippi National Guard and volunteering in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Air Force's Civil Air Patrol. Dr. Abraham also serves on the Agriculture Committee. The 5th District is one of the largest row crop districts in the nation, and many of the district’s farmers raise livestock. Dr. Abraham is a member of the Doctors Caucus, Veterinary Medicine Caucus, National Guard Caucus, Coast Guard Caucus, Sportsmen's Caucus, Mississippi River Caucus, and the National Guard Youth Challenge Caucus. Son of Lebanese immigrants, Dr. Abraham grew up in rural Richland Parish where he and his wife, Dianne, reside today. Dr. Abraham graduated from Mangham High School before earning his degree at Louisiana State University. He graduated from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and practiced for 10 years before eventually seeking his Medical Doctor degree, which he earned at the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport. As Dr. Abraham likes to say, he wanted to be able to “treat anything that walks on two or four legs.” Dr. Abraham is a business owner and certified flight instructor. He achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and is currently an Aircraft Commander in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Dr. Abraham and Dianne have been married for 39 years. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Rep. Justin Amash is a Republican congressman representing Michigan's 3rd district, which includes Barry, Ionia and most of Kent counties and the city of Grand Rapids. He is an Arab-American, the son of a Palestinian father and a Syrian mother who immigrated to Michigan. After serving two years in the Michigan House of Representatives, Rep. Amash was elected to Congress in 2010. At the age of 32, he is one of the youngest members of the House. Rep. Amash is a member of the Joint Economic Committee, the House Budget Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Rep. Amash also chairs the Liberty Caucus, a libertarian group within the Republican party, and he has endorsed Texas Rep. Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination. He has shown substantial independence during his short time in Congress, voting against his party much more frequently than most Members. Rep. Amash has also been a leader on civil liberties issues, becoming one of the few Republicans in the House to vote against the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens. He also added an amendment to a recent cybersecurity bill that exempted some personal data from government oversight, an important limitation on government power. As a young and charismatic congressman, Rep. Amash is a rising star in Washington and an important model for Arab-American political participation.

Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. is a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Louisiana's 7th district, which is based in Lafayette and includes the southwestern corner of the state. Boustany is an Arab American; his paternal grandparents were Lebanese immigrants. Rep. Boustany studied medicine and practiced as a heart surgeon in New Orleans before running for office. He ran for an open congressional seat in 2004 and has been reelected three times as an incumbent. Rep. Boustany serves on the Ways and Means Committee, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight. He has been an advocate for issues important to Arab Americans, including as an early cosponsor of a bill to recognize the achievements of the early Arab American author Ameen Rihani. Rep. Boustany has also been an advocate for greater American engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, including as an author of the Cohen-Boustany-Carnahan letter supporting President Obama's efforts to revive the peace process.

Rep. Richard Hanna is a Republican member of the House of Representatives from New York's 24th District, which covers a large section of central New York state including the cities of Utica, Rome and Cortland. Rep. Hanna was born in Utica and spent his career in the construction business before winning election to Congress in 2010. He is an Arab-American of Lebanese descent. Rep. Hanna serves on three House committees: Transportation and Infrastructure, Education and the Workforce and Small Business. He has been an opponent of the Iraq War and has supported President Obama's efforts to bring American troops home from that conflict. Rep. Hanna has also been an important voice for civil liberties in Congress, voting against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act because of concerns about the broad surveillance powers it grants to the federal government. As a strong and independent voice in Washington, Rep. Richard Hanna provides an important example for other Arab-Americans interested in entering the political arena.

Rep. Garret Graves is a freshman Republican member of the House of Representatives from Louisiana's 6th District. He sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, of which he is a member of the Subcommittees on Highways and Transit, Water Resources and the Environment (Vice Chairman), and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. Garret is also a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, where he is assigned to the Subcommittees on Energy and Mineral Resources, and Public Lands and Environmental Regulation. Garret grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners – an environment that held individual responsibility, innovation and a strong work ethic in the highest regard, all which shaped his passion for public service. Garret’s career in public service began in the Louisiana congressional delegation with Louisiana’s coastal region Congressman Billy Tauzin who chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Garret later worked for Louisiana Senator David Vitter and served on U.S. House and Senate committees focused on civil works, infrastructure, and maritime policies. Prior to his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Garret had served six years on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s cabinet as Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). Concurrently, he worked as a senior policy advisor to the governor on energy, environment, fisheries, and disasters. Congressman Graves is a lifelong resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He and his wife, Carissa, have three children.

Rep. Gwen Graham is a freshman Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Florida's 2nd Districtthe state’s largest, which is composed of all of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties, and portions of Holmes and Madison counties. Graham is making it her mission to bring the North Florida Way to Congress — working with both sides of the aisle to make a real difference for North Florida families. Using her strong experience as a parent, professional, and consensus builder, Graham and her office are focused on creating jobs and helping local businesses grow, providing responsive constituent services, and tackling the major challenges we face as a country. Graham was born in 1963 in Miami Lakes and began spending part of each year in Tallahassee when her father, Bob Graham, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1966. When her father was elected governor in 1978, Graham and her family moved to the state capital year-round. Gwen graduated from Leon High School in 1980. In Congress, Gwen Graham is carrying on her father’s tradition of Workdays — where she works a full-shift at a job next to local constituents. Since starting her own Workdays, Graham has worked at a food truck, peanut farm, police department, goat farm, charter fishing boat, barber shop and at a number of other small businesses. Graham is married to Stephen D. Hurm, a law enforcement officer and general counsel for Florida’s Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, and has three children, Sarah, Graham and Mark Ernest.

Rep. Darrell Issa is a Republican member of the House of Representatives from California's 49th congressional district, which includes parts of San Diego and Riverside Counties. The grandson of Lebanese immigrants, Rep. Issa grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. After a successful business career in electronics and car alarms, he moved with his family to suburban San Diego, where he successfully ran for Congress in 2000. He has won reelection five times. Rep. Issa is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and serves on the House Judiciary Committee. He has been a leader on a number of issues related to the Middle East, including as a cosponsor of the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act of 2011, meant to ensure that these dangerous weapons would be be dismantled so that they would not pose a threat to civilians. Rep. Issa was an early supporter of the Arab Spring, co-sponsoring a resolution that expressed solidarity with the Egyptian people during the 2011 revolution. As a signatory to the 2009 Cohen-Boustany-Carnahan letter, Rep. Issa urged President Obama to provide strong American leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to use the Arab Peace Initiative as the basis for an agreement. As a successful businessman and political leader, Rep. Darrell Issa serves as an important model for Arab American political engagement.

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