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

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This is a list of Arab Americans and Middle Eastern Americans in the U.S. Congress. This list would include North Africans in the United States who identify as Arab as well as non-Arab Middle Eastern Americans.

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 were also the first Muslim women in Congress.[3] The U.S. House of Representatives currently has six Arab-American members.

The first Assyrian American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives was Adam Benjamin in 1977,[4] and the first Iranian-American U.S. Representative was Stephanie Bice.[5] There currently is one Assyrian-American and one Iranian-American U.S. Representative serving in Congress.

Senate[edit]

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

House of Representatives[edit]

Picture Representative
(lifespan)
Arab or Middle Eastern ethnicity Party State Term start Term end Notes
Rep. Kasem George A. Kasem
(1919–2002)
Lebanese Democratic California January 3, 1959 January 3, 1961 Lost reelection
Rep. Kazen Abraham Kazen
(1919–1987)
Lebanese Democratic Texas January 3, 1967 January 3, 1985 Lost renomination
Rep. Abourezk 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
Rep. Abdnor 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
Rep. Moffett Toby Moffett
(born 1944)
Lebanese Democratic Connecticut January 3, 1975 January 3, 1983 Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Connecticut
Rep. Benjamin Adam Benjamin
(1935–1982)
Assyrian Democratic Indiana January 3, 1977 September 7, 1982 Died in office
Rep. Oakar Mary Rose Oakar
(born 1940)
Lebanese
Syrian
Democratic Ohio January 3, 1977 January 3, 1993 Lost reelection
Rep. Rahall Nick Rahall
(born 1949)
Lebanese Democratic West Virginia January 3, 1977 January 3, 2015 Lost reelection
Rep. Danner Pat Danner
(born 1934)
Lebanese Democratic Missouri January 3, 1993 January 3, 2001 Retired
Rep. Eshoo Anna Eshoo
(born 1942)
Assyrian Democratic California January 3, 1993 Incumbent
Rep. Baldacci John Baldacci
(born 1955)
Lebanese Democratic Maine January 3, 1995 January 3, 2003 Retired to run successfully for Governor of Maine
Rep. LaHood Ray LaHood
(born 1945)
Lebanese Republican Illinois January 3, 1995 January 3, 2009 Retired to become U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Rep. John Chris John
(born 1960)
Lebanese Democratic Louisiana January 3, 1997 January 3, 2005 Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
Rep. Sununu 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
Rep. Issa Darrell Issa
(born 1953)
Lebanese Republican California January 3, 2001 January 3, 2019 Retired
January 3, 2021 Incumbent
Rep. Boustany Charles Boustany
(born 1956)
Lebanese Republican Louisiana January 3, 2005 January 3, 2017 Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
Rep. Amash Justin Amash
(born 1980)
Palestinian
Syrian
Republican
(2011–2019)
Michigan January 3, 2011 January 3, 2021 Retired
Independent
(2019–2020)
Libertarian
(2020–2021)
Rep. Hanna Richard L. Hanna
(1951–2020)
Lebanese Republican New York (state)New York January 3, 2011 January 3, 2017 Retired
Rep. Abraham Ralph Abraham
(born 1954)
Lebanese Republican Louisiana January 3, 2015 January 3, 2021 Retired
Rep. Graham Gwen Graham
(born 1963)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2015 January 3, 2017 Retired
Rep. Graves Garret Graves
(born 1972)
Lebanese Republican Louisiana January 3, 2015 Incumbent
Rep. LaHood Darin LaHood
(born 1968)
Lebanese Republican Illinois September 10, 2015 Incumbent
Rep. Crist Charlie Crist
(born 1956)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2017 Incumbent
Rep. Mucarsel-Powell Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
(born 1971)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2019 January 3, 2021 Lost reelection
Rep. Omar Ilhan Omar
(born 1981)
Somali[Note 1] Democratic Minnesota January 3, 2019 Incumbent
Rep. Shalala Donna Shalala
(born 1941)
Lebanese Democratic Florida January 3, 2019 January 3, 2021 Lost reelection
Rep. Tlaib Rashida Tlaib
(born 1976)
Palestinian Democratic Michigan January 3, 2019 Incumbent
Rep. Bice Stephanie Bice
(born 1973)
Iranian Republican Oklahoma January 3, 2021 Incumbent

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Although Somalis are not considered ethnically Arab, Somalia is considered to be part of the Arab World, being part of the Arab League, 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 January 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Assyrians in Middle America A Historical and Demographic Study of the Chicago Assyrian Community" (PDF). jaas.org. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  5. ^ Firozi, Paulina. "House GOP chipped away at Democratic majority. They can thank female candidates" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  6. ^ "Arab American Roster". Arab American Institute. Retrieved March 11, 2019.