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.

Contents

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

PictureSenator
(lifespan)
Arab or Middle Eastern EthnicityPartyStateTerm startTerm endNotes
James Abourezk.jpg James Abourezk
(born 1931)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of South Dakota (1963-1992).svg South Dakota January 3, 1973January 3, 1979Retired
George John Mitchell.jpg George J. Mitchell
(born 1933)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Maine.svg Maine May 17, 1980January 3, 1995Retired
Served as Senate Majority Leader, 1989–1995
JamesAbdnor.jpg James Abdnor
(1923–2012)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of South Dakota (1963-1992).svg South Dakota January 3, 1981January 3, 1987Lost reelection
Spencer Abraham.jpg Spencer Abraham
(born 1952)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan January 3, 1995January 3, 2001Lost reelection
John E. Sununu.jpg John E. Sununu
(born 1964)
Flag of Palestine.svg Palestinian
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese
Republican Flag of New Hampshire.svg New Hampshire January 3, 2003January 3, 2009Lost reelection

House of Representatives

PictureRepresentative
(lifespan)
Arab or Middle Eastern EthnicityPartyStateTerm startTerm endNotes
George A. Kasem (California Congressman).jpg George A. Kasem
(1919–2002)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of California.svg California January 3, 1959January 3, 1961Lost reelection
Abraham Kazen.jpg Abraham Kazen
(1919–1987)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Texas.svg Texas January 3, 1967January 3, 1985Lost renomination
James Abourezk.jpg James Abourezk
(born 1931)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of South Dakota (1963-1992).svg South Dakota January 3, 1971January 3, 1973Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from South Dakota
JamesAbdnor.jpg James Abdnor
(1923–2012)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of South Dakota (1963-1992).svg South Dakota January 3, 1973January 3, 1981Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from South Dakota
Toby Moffett.jpg Toby Moffett
(born 1944)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Connecticut.svg Connecticut January 3, 1975January 3, 1983Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Connecticut
Adam Benjamin, Jr..jpg Adam Benjamin
(1935–1982)
Flag of the Assyrians.svg Assyrian Democratic Flag of Indiana.svg Indiana January 3, 1977September 7, 1982Died in office
MROakar.jpg Mary Rose Oakar
(born 1940)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese
Flag of Syria.svg Syrian
Democratic Flag of Ohio.svg Ohio January 3, 1977January 3, 1993Lost reelection
Nick Rahall.jpg Nick Rahall
(born 1949)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of West Virginia.svg West Virginia January 3, 1977January 3, 2015Lost reelection
PatDanner.jpg Pat Danner
(born 1934)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Missouri.svg Missouri January 3, 1993January 3, 2001Retired
Rep Anna Eshoo.jpg Anna Eshoo
(born 1942)
Flag of the Assyrians.svg Assyrian Democratic Flag of California.svg California January 3, 1993Incumbent
John Baldacci - 107th United States Congress.jpg John Baldacci
(born 1955)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Maine.svg Maine January 3, 1995January 3, 2003Retired to run successfully for Governor of Maine
Ray lahood.jpg Ray LaHood
(born 1945)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois January 3, 1995January 3, 2009Retired to become U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Chrisjohn.jpg Chris John
(born 1960)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana January 3, 1997January 3, 2005Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
John E. Sununu.jpg John E. Sununu
(born 1964)
Flag of Palestine.svg Palestinian
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese
Republican Flag of New Hampshire.svg New Hampshire January 3, 1997January 3, 2003Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from New Hampshire
Congressman Darrell Issa.jpg Darrell Issa
(born 1953)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of California.svg California January 3, 2001January 3, 2019Retired
January 3, 2021Incumbent
Rep. Charles Boustany.jpg Charles Boustany
(born 1956)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana January 3, 2005January 3, 2017Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from Louisiana
Justin Amash official photo.jpg Justin Amash
(born 1980)
Flag of Palestine.svg Palestinian
Flag of Syria.svg Syrian
Republican
(2011–2019)
Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan January 3, 2011January 3, 2021Retired
Independent
(2019–2020)
Libertarian
(2020–2021)
Richard Hanna, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg Richard L. Hanna
(1951–2020)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of New York.svg New York January 3, 2011January 3, 2017Retired
Ralph Abraham official congressional photo.jpg Ralph Abraham
(born 1954)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana January 3, 2015January 3, 2021Retired
Gwen Graham 114th.jpg Gwen Graham
(born 1963)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Florida.svg Florida January 3, 2015January 3, 2017Retired
Garret Graves official portrait, 2015.jpg Garret Graves
(born 1972)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of Louisiana.svg Louisiana January 3, 2015Incumbent
Darin LaHood official portrait.jpg Darin LaHood
(born 1968)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Republican Flag of Illinois.svg Illinois September 10, 2015Incumbent
Charlie Crist 115th Congress photo.jpg Charlie Crist
(born 1956)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Florida.svg Florida January 3, 2017Incumbent
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, official portrait, 116h Congress.jpg Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
(born 1971)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Florida.svg Florida January 3, 2019January 3, 2021Lost reelection
Ilhan Omar, official portrait, 116th Congress (cropped).jpg Ilhan Omar
(born 1981)
Flag of Somalia.svg Somali [Note 1] Democratic Flag of Minnesota.svg Minnesota January 3, 2019Incumbent
Donna Shalala, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg Donna Shalala
(born 1941)
Flag of Lebanon.svg Lebanese Democratic Flag of Florida.svg Florida January 3, 2019January 3, 2021Lost reelection
Rashida Tlaib, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg Rashida Tlaib
(born 1976)
Flag of Palestine.svg Palestinian Democratic Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan January 3, 2019Incumbent
Stephanie Bice 117th U.S Congress.jpg Stephanie Bice
(born 1973)
Flag of Iran.svg Iranian Republican Flag of Oklahoma.svg Oklahoma January 3, 2021Incumbent

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References

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.