List of Arab and Middle Eastern Americans in the United States Congress

This is a list of Arab Americans and Middle Eastern Americans in the U.S. Congress.

The first Arab American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives was George A. Kasem in 1959, and the first Arab-American U.S. Senator was James Abourezk in 1973. In the 115th Congress, there were six U.S. Representatives and no U.S. Senators of Arab-American descent serving in Congress.[1][2] On November 6, 2018, four additional Arab Americans, all of whom are female, were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives: Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Ilhan Omar, Donna Shalala and Rashida Tlaib. Tlaib and Omar are also the first Muslim women in Congress.[3] The U.S. House of Representatives currently has eight Arab-American members.

The first Assyrian American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives was Adam Benjamin in 1977,[4] and there currently is one Assyrian-American U.S. Representative serving in Congress.

SenateEdit

Picture Senator
(lifespan)
Arab or Middle Eastern Ethnicity Party State Term start Term end Notes
  James Abourezk
(born 1931)
  Lebanese Democratic   South Dakota January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979 Retired
  George J. Mitchell
(born 1933)
  Lebanese Democratic   Maine May 17, 1980 January 3, 1995 Retired
Served as Senate Majority Leader, 1989–1995
  James Abdnor
(1923–2012)
  Lebanese Republican   South Dakota January 3, 1981 January 3, 1987 Lost reelection
  Spencer Abraham
(born 1952)
  Lebanese Republican   Michigan January 3, 1995 January 3, 2001 Lost reelection
  John E. Sununu
(born 1964)
  Palestinian,
  Lebanese
Republican   New Hampshire January 3, 2003 January 3, 2009 Lost reelection

House of RepresentativesEdit

Picture Representative
(lifespan)
Arab or Middle Eastern Ethnicity Party State Term start Term end Notes
  George A. Kasem
(1919–2002)
Lebanese Democratic California January 3, 1959 January 3, 1961 Lost reelection
  Abraham Kazen
(1919–1987)
Lebanese Democratic Texas January 3, 1967 January 3, 1985 Lost renomination
  James Abourezk
(born 1931)
Lebanese Democratic South Dakota January 3, 1971 January 3, 1973 Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from South Dakota
  James Abdnor
(1923–2012)
Lebanese Republican South Dakota January 3, 1973 January 3, 1981 Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from South Dakota
  Toby Moffett
(born 1944)
Lebanese Democratic Connecticut January 3, 1975 January 3, 1983 Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Connecticut
  Adam Benjamin
(1935–1982)
Assyrian Democratic Indiana January 3, 1977 September 7, 1982 Died in office
  Mary Rose Oakar
(born 1940)
Lebanese,
Syrian
Democratic Ohio January 3, 1977 January 3, 1993 Lost reelection
  Nick Rahall
(born 1949)
Lebanese Democratic West Virginia January 3, 1977 January 3, 2015 Lost reelection
  Pat Danner
(born 1934)
Lebanese Democratic Missouri January 3, 1993 January 3, 2001 Retired
  Anna Eshoo
(born 1942)
Assyrian Democratic California January 3, 1993 present
  John Baldacci
(born 1955)
Lebanese Democratic Maine January 3, 1995 January 3, 2003 Retired to run successfully for Governor of Maine
  Ray LaHood
(born 1945)
Lebanese Republican Illinois January 3, 1995 January 3, 2009 Retired to become U.S. Secretary of Transportation
  Chris John
(born 1960)
Lebanese Democratic Louisiana January 3, 1997 January 3, 2005 Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
  John E. Sununu
(born 1964)
Palestinian,
Lebanese
Republican New Hampshire January 3, 1997 January 3, 2003 Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from New Hampshire
  Darrell Issa
(born 1953)
Lebanese Republican California January 3, 2001 January 3, 2019 Retired
  Charles Boustany
(born 1956)
Lebanese Republican Louisiana January 3, 2005 January 3, 2017 Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
  Justin Amash
(born 1980)
Palestinian,
Syrian
Republican
(2011–2019)
Michigan January 3, 2011 present
Independent
(since 2019)[Note 1]
  Richard L. Hanna
(born 1951)
Lebanese Republican New York January 3, 2011 January 3, 2017 Retired
  Ralph Abraham
(born 1954)
Lebanese Republican Louisiana January 3, 2015 present
  Gwen Graham
(born 1963)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2015 January 3, 2017 Retired
  Garret Graves
(born 1972)
Lebanese Republican Louisiana January 3, 2015 present
  Darin LaHood
(born 1968)
Lebanese Republican Illinois September 10, 2015 present
  Charlie Crist
(born 1956)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2017 present
  Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
(born 1971)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2019 present
  Ilhan Omar
(born 1981)
Somali[Note 2] Democratic Minnesota January 3, 2019 present
  Donna Shalala
(born 1941)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2019 present
  Rashida Tlaib
(born 1976)
Palestinian Democratic Michigan January 3, 2019 present

ReferencesEdit

Notes
  1. ^ Announced disaffiliation from the Republican Party on July 4, 2019[5]
  2. ^ Although Somalis are not considered ethnically Arab, Somalia is part of the Arab World and Omar is listed in the Arab American Institute's list of officeholders.[6] She is also listed at List of African-American United States Representatives.
References
  1. ^ "Meet Arab American Members in 115th Congress - Arab American Institute". www.aaiusa.org.
  2. ^ "Arab American Members of Congress - Arab American Leadership Council Political Action Committee". www.aaleadershipcouncil.org.
  3. ^ Boorstein, Michelle. "The nation's first two Muslim congresswomen are sworn in, surrounded by the women they inspired". Washington Post. Retrieved Jan 3, 2018.
  4. ^ "Assyrians in Middle America A Historical and Demographic Study of the Chicago Assyrian Community" (PDF). jaas.org. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  5. ^ https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/04/politics/justin-amash-leaving-gop/index.html
  6. ^ "Arab American Roster". Arab American Institute. Retrieved 2019-03-11.