George A. Kasem
George Albert Kasem
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 25th district
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961
|Preceded by||Patrick J. Hillings|
|Succeeded by||John H. Rousselot|
George Albert Kasem
April 6, 1919
Drumright, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||February 11, 2002 (aged 82)|
Carlsbad, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Southern California (BA 1949, LLB 1951)|
|Branch/service||U.S. Army Air Forces|
|Years of service||1941–1945|
|Battles/wars||World 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.
Born in Drumright, Oklahoma, Kasem was the son of Abdullah Kasem and Nabeha (Bader) Kasem. His family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was a boy, and Kasem graduated from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in 1938. After graduation, Kasem worked as a clerk in a grocery store and became active in the local Retail Clerk's Union.
In 1941, he joined the United States Army Air Forces for World War II. Kasem was trained as a weather observer and forecaster at military schools in Macon, Georgia and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He served in Sudan, Egypt, and Iraq, and remained in the service until being discharged at the end of the war in 1945.
Post-World War II
He graduated from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California in 1949, and received his law degree from USC in 1951. Kasem was admitted to the bar and became an attorney in Baldwin Park.
Member of Congress
Kasem was elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-sixth Congress (January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1961). He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election to the Eighty-seventh Congress in 1960. 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. 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.
- "George A. Kasem, 82; First Arab American in House". Los Angeles Times. February 14, 2002. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- U.S. House of Representatives (1960). Official Congressional Directory. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 18.
- Congressional Directory, p. 18.
- United States Congress. "George A. Kasem (id: K000015)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- George A. Kasem at The Political Graveyard
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.