I was born in Connecticut, to Lebanese parents who had left Beirut and were looking for a new place to call home. They had no intention of leaving their beloved country, at the time, but when my Dad and uncle were kidnapped and brutally beaten by one of the political militias, they had no choice but to leave Lebanon and start a new life.
They landed in Connecticut, my businessman father with his big eyes on the Big Apple and the types of dreams he could achieve here. He worked like a dog, and at first faced failure and then enjoyed great success. He is the American dream.
Because of my parents’ experiences – fleeing a civil war and the horror they witnessed, and starting over in a country that would welcome them and that would soon become their own – they raised me everyday to be a proud American and to be grateful we lived in the United States. A country where you are free to say what you want without fear of recourse; a country where you can be who you want to be and achieve your dreams no matter your background, race, or religion; and a country whose government represents you and works for your best interests. I love my country deeply.
My parents opened my eyes to the repression, abuse, and poverty from which people in other countries suffer and reiterated to me that the United States is the best country in the world. As a result of my upbringing, I felt very strongly both about serving my country as well as working in international affairs, to fight for those who had no voice and to work toward international peace and security.
I ended up having an amazing 12-year run with the U.S. government. I started my career working for Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT), who taught me the importance of ethics and fighting for what was right. I then went to the U.S. Department of the Treasury where I became a Middle East policy advisor working to disrupt and dismantle the financial networks that support a range of international criminals, including terrorist organizations, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, drug traffickers, and rogue regimes.
From there I went to the White House, to be Director for Syria and Lebanon at the National Security Council, including during the first two years of the Syrian crisis. While in this position, I discovered a knack for communications and a passion for working with the media and so I returned to the Treasury Department to be Spokesperson for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. I finished my government career as Communications Director and Spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
I joined SAM for a simple reason: I feel strongly about my country – about the principles on which it was founded, about the American people, and about our collective success. Although both the Republican and Democratic parties have afforded me amazing opportunities throughout my career in the U.S. government, I never fully felt that I identified very well with either party. That sentiment only grew over the years, as each side pursued a more extreme version of itself. I was looking for a movement that would focus on what was important – upholding our Nation’s ideals, being inclusive, and providing practical solutions to real problems. And that’s where SAM was born.
SAM will support leaders who will solve problems by implementing practical plans - plans that are void of corruption, politics, and special interests. SAM will work to achieve peace through strength and will reexamine the way national security is addressed. By advancing American leadership and security, we will look to support human rights and democracy around the world.
SAM will advance U.S. national security interests by leading and by strengthening the relationships with our allies. Those around the world who suffer from conflict, repression, poverty, or atrocities will know they can count on the United States. And Americans will rest assured that these efforts will uphold our Nation’s ideals and will reinforce the security of our homeland.
That’s the kind of movement that the United States and the world will be better off with, and the kind I am proud to be part of.
Join SAM and join us in making a difference.