George A. Kasem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
George Albert Kasem
George A. Kasem (California Congressman).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961
Preceded byPatrick J. Hillings
Succeeded byJohn H. Rousselot
Personal details
George Albert Kasem

(1919-04-06)April 6, 1919
Drumright, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedFebruary 11, 2002(2002-02-11) (aged 82)
Carlsbad, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materUniversity of Southern California (BA 1949, LLB 1951)
  • Politician
  • lawyer
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceU.S. Army Air Forces
Years of service1941–1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

George Albert Kasem (April 6, 1919 – February 11, 2002) was a U.S. Representative from California's 25th congressional district. He was of Lebanese descent and was the first Arab American elected to the United States Congress.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Drumright, Oklahoma, Kasem was the son of Abdullah Kasem and Nabeha (Bader) Kasem.[2] His family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was a boy, and Kasem graduated from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in 1938.[3] After graduation, Kasem worked as a clerk in a grocery store and became active in the local Retail Clerk's Union.[3]

Military service[edit]

In 1941, he joined the United States Army Air Forces for World War II.[3] Kasem was trained as a weather observer and forecaster at military schools in Macon, Georgia and Grand Rapids, Michigan.[3] He served in Sudan, Egypt, and Iraq, and remained in the service until being discharged at the end of the war in 1945.[3]

Post-World War II[edit]

He graduated from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California in 1949, and received his law degree from USC in 1951.[3] Kasem was admitted to the bar and became an attorney in Baldwin Park.[3]

Member of Congress[edit]

Kasem was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-sixth Congress (January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961).[3] He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election to the Eighty-seventh Congress in 1960.[1] During his term, Kasem advocated enhanced funding of the San Gabriel Valley Flood Control project, increased federal aid to education, and improved medical care for the elderly.[1] He caused controversy while on a visit to Beirut, when he gave a speech in which he indicated that the creation of and support for Israel was the most effective way to bring about peace in the Middle East.[1]

Later career[edit]

After leaving Congress, Kasem resumed the practice of law.[1] He served as commissioner in Citrus Municipal Court, West Covina, California from 1978 to 1984.[1]

He died in Carlsbad, California.[1]


Kasem was survived by his wife Catherine, to whom he was married for 54 years.[1] They were the parents of a daughter, Janet Orr, and had two grandchildren.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "George A. Kasem, 82; First Arab American in House". Los Angeles Times. February 14, 2002. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
  2. ^ U.S. House of Representatives (1960). Official Congressional Directory. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 18.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Congressional Directory, p. 18.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Patrick J. Hillings
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 25th congressional district

Succeeded by
John H. Rousselot

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website