American Arab in race for California 39th Congressional district

American Arab in race for California 39th Congressional district
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American Arab in race for California 39th Congressional district

Former Obama Administration Official and Clean Energy Executive, Sam Jammal, Announces Run for Congress in California’s 39th District. Sam Will Challenge 24-year incumbent, Ed Royce in 2018 Midterm Election

Sam Jammal, a former Obama Administration official and clean energy executive, announced Wednesday he is entering the race for the 39th Congressional district in California, opposing incumbent Republican Congressman, Ed Royce.

“I am running to help restore the American Dream, which has been slipping away for so many of us,” states Sam Jammal, who was raised in the 39th district and lives in Fullerton.

“This is even more of a problem today given Royce’s near 100% support of President Trump’s anti-middle class agenda. Too many families I grew up with never recovered from the recession and are still struggling to get by. We need next generation leadership to bring bold ideas that are relevant to today’s economy and pave the way for the future.”

The son of Latino and Arab American immigrant parents who came to this country to work hard and build a better life, Jammal worked his way through high school, college and law school. He has spent his entire career fighting to improve his community and is committed to building a better future for the next generation.

Sam Jammal, candidate for Congress in the 39th District in California. Photo courtesy of Sam Jammal Campaign

Sam Jammal, candidate for Congress in the 39th District in California. Photo courtesy of Sam Jammal Campaign

Jammal most recently worked as a Manager and Attorney at Tesla and, before that, as a Director at SolarCity. Prior to joining the clean energy movement, Jammal was a Chief of Staff in Congress and served in the Obama Administration as a presidential appointee at the Department of Commerce. Sam began his career as a civil rights attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

“It’s time for the next generation of Latino leaders to step up,” said Cecilia Muñoz, former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Obama.

“I got to know Sam early in his civil rights career as a forceful advocate for Latino children. Over the years Sam has continued to be a champion for our community on issues like making college more affordable, creating clean energy jobs, and fighting for the civil rights of all people, including our immigrant community. We need more leaders like Sam in Congress.”

“Sam Jammal is the candidate to watch in the 2018 midterm election,” said Jon Carson, former Assistant to President Obama and National Field Director for the Obama Campaign. “President Obama inspired the next generation of leaders, who are stepping up and making change at home in their communities. With Sam’s diverse background, leadership in clean energy and progressive track record, he is going to make an outstanding Member of Congress.”

Jammal has first-hand working knowledge of DC and work experience in job creation (through the Department of Congress) and building clean energy jobs. He also knows the crippling effect of a broken healthcare system first-hand (his sister has a chronic degenerative autoimmune disease), as well as the impact of someone like Betsy DeVos on education (his brother is a principal at a high-poverty Title 1 school).

Click here to read a recent blog post Jammal authored.

The Sam Jammal for Congress campaign launched this morning with a video announcement that can be viewed at

Sam Jammal’s official bio:

Sam Jammal grew up in the 39th District, raised by proud immigrant parents in La Mirada who believed in the American Dream. Inspired by his parents’ lifetime of perseverance when times were tough, he put himself through law school and became a civil rights attorney. Sam’s story is the American story – passionate, driven, grounded in family and community and committed to lifting up those struggling to get ahead.

Sam was raised by Latino and Arab American, working-class immigrant parents. The youngest of three children, Sam watched his parents sacrifice to provide their kids with a better life.

While in high school and as a student at the University of Southern California, Sam worked part-time jobs to pay tuition and rent, including busing tables in LaHabra, cleaning rental cars just outside the 39th District in Cerritos, working retail at the Brea mall and cleaning suites at Angels Stadium. Sam balanced work, school and internships to pay for school, gain work experience and advance his career.

Sam has always been engaged in issues of equality and opportunity.

Recognizing law as a key lever for pursuing justice, equality and change, Sam studied at The George Washington Law School, focusing on civil rights. Rather than taking a typical high-paying law firm job to pay down his student loan debt, Sam worked for Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) as a civil rights lawyer, advocating for the rights of Latino and immigrant students to receive a quality education.

During the 2008 presidential election, Sam served as Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Latino Voter Protection Task Force. After the campaign, Sam stayed in Washington to serve as Legislative Counsel in the United States Senate where he focused on civil rights, labor and national security issues. Sam was later appointed by President Barack Obama to serve at the United States Department of Commerce where he worked to expand export opportunities for American companies and small businesses. Following his work at the Commerce Department, Sam served as Chief of Staff to a Southern California Member of Congress. Sam was one of the youngest in history to serve in this role, in addition to being one of only a handful of Arab or Latino Americans ever to serve as a Chief of Staff to a Member of Congress.

In 2015, Sam returned home to La Mirada to work for SolarCity and later Tesla on their efforts to expand renewable energy and lower consumers’ energy bills throughout Southern California. Sam currently lives in Fullerton and continues to advocate for renewable energy development and job creation in the clean energy and technology sectors.

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RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

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Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

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