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Arab American Donna Shalala Announces Run for Congress

posted on: Mar 14, 2018

By: Udochi Esomonu/Arab America Contributing Writer

Donna Shalala has announced her run for Congress. Donna Shalala is of Lebanese-American descent and stands, at the age of 77, ready to assume a Democratic seat in the United States Congress. Her run for Congress–for Florida’s 27th District–is motivated by her great dissatisfaction with President Trump and his Administration’s work. On Wednesday, March 7, she officially announced her run for Congress through a posting of a video on her official website as well as on her Twitter page. 

She voiced in her video, her concerns with the current state of the United States government, “Everything we fought for in our lives is under attack under the slogan, ‘Make America Great Again,” “Running for Congress was never in my plans. But now I realize everything we fought for is at risk.”

Official Announcement Video:

Donna Shalala was born in Cleveland Ohio, to migrants from Lebanon. Her family moved to the United States to pursue the American Dream, and through that, understands the gravity of the barriers and struggles facing immigrants upon their journey to provide a better life and circumstance for their families.

Shalala, although running for Congress for the first time, is no stranger to the United States government. She has been active in the government since 1993, as she worked directly as a Cabinet member under President Bill Clinton. Shalala is the former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, making her the first Lebanese-American to hold the position. Under the position, she fought to create and implement the Children Healthcare Insurance Program which provided funds to states for health insurance to families with children, ensuring that all children had access to proper health facilities. She served for eight years, and to date, is the longest serving Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Upon her departure from the United States Government, she assumed the position of the president of The University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida from 2001 till 2015. While president of the University, she taught a course, every spring, on the United States’ healthcare system, which allowed her to draw from her experiences while serving in the Department of Health and Human Services.

As of now, she teaches Political Science and Health Policy courses at the University of Miami. After serving as the president of the University of Miami, she became the Head of the Clinton Foundation until 2017. The position allowed her to further move towards the goal of improving global health, healthcare for all children, creating domestic economic opportunities for all, etc…

She has lived in Coral Gables for the past 17 years and frequently expresses her love and respect for Florida. She is running for the seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, which covers Miami, Miami Beach, and Coral Gables. Many individuals active in the political sphere have commented on Donna Shalala’s congressional run announcement:

For example, Eric Jotkoff, a former spokesman for the state party and President Obama’s Florida campaign commented, “Donna Shalala is somebody who’s a civic and community leader in Miami-Dade and but she’s also a national leader on issues from healthcare to education and so much more,” he said.

One of the current candidates in the same district, Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, said she’s not going anywhere, whether Shalala runs or not. Rosen Gonzalez said that Shalala represents more of the “elite” of the party and not the working-class residents of the district, whom she says she represents.

Not only is Shalala a veteran of the United States government, but she prides herself on her dedication to provide for those in need, specifically in regards to economic and health stability of families in the United States and beyond. As she herself said,“I know something about Congress. I know the issues cold. All the issues,” she said. “There’s so much going on in this country, particularly in Washington, that’s why I believe this community needs to send to Washington a very strong advocate, someone who can hit the ground running. 

She is beyond ready and prepared to aid the United States Government through the lens of a policymaker to further enact the change that she began decades ago under President Clinton’s Administration.

To learn more about Donna Shalala, her life, and her political aspirations and platforms, visit her Twitter page, Youtube Channel, and her official campaign website!

Twitter:  @DonnaShalala

Youtube Channel: Donna Shalala

Official Campaign Website: