10 FAST FACTS ABOUT ME
- I am a “working class candidate” with deep roots in The Bronx.
- First member of my family born in the United States.
- Oldest child of parents who legally immigrated from Egypt.
- Entered public school in The Bronx as a non-English speaker.
- Part of a multi-racial family in which Armenian, Arabic, French, and Turkish are spoken, in addition to English.
My father was a Veteran, having served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War as a psychologist treating soldiers with post-war trauma.
- Both of my parents worked for the New York Department of Education serving at-risk kids in the South Bronx during the Bad Old Days.
- I worked through college and graduate school in New York City, and graduated debt-free.
- Career health/medical writer and editor, with a public service approach to journalism and public relations.
- My work for Ketchum PR helped change U.S., U.K. and Canadian public health policy to mandate folic acid fortification of enriched grain products to prevent spina bifida and related birth defects.
WHO I AM
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am fiercely protective of my community. And that I love this country.
The radical left is convinced that America is evil—in large part because from Kindergarten to college, schools teach our children that America is “garbage.”
I take this very personally because my Armenian parents—who emigrated to America legally from Egypt after they married—did not raise me to think of America as “garbage.”
Among the reasons my parents left Egypt was to give the children they planned to have the priceless gifts of freedom and opportunity.
And with the relatives they left behind subjected to the corrupt misery of Arab socialism under Nasser, they taught me and my brothers to love and respect our country, and to value the American Dream.
For this reason, I’ve always loved the Fourth of July even better than my own birthday. Being born in this great country is the best gift anyone could ever have.
Although they came to the U.S. to escape socialism, my parents made sure we saw the oppression and desperation of life under socialistic regimes with our own eyes.
In 1968 they took us on a Grand Tour of Europe—but in addition to Austria, France, Italy and Germany they also took us behind the Iron Curtain to Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
One night in Romania, my father pulled to the side of a dark street to figure out the directions to the hotel Americans were directed to by the government. Out of the darkness, a young man approached the car and offered his nearby apartment to us for the night—this was way before Airbnb was invented.
He explained he was trying to save up to buy a car, and that the government set his salary at a level that covered his rent, groceries and small luxuries like the occasional new coat or new pair of shoes. No matter how hard he worked, or how good he was at his job, he would never earn enough to realize his dream of owning a car.
This was one of many lessons from that trip that stuck with me, even as my college professors were extolling socialism and slamming capitalism.