Meet Ammar Campa-Najjar, the First Latino-Arab-American to Run for Congress


Ammar Campa-Najjar is making history as the first Latino-Arab-American to run for Congress, and he believes his multi-cultural identity will make him a better fit for the job.

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Campa-Najjar, who grew up in San Diego, has a Mexican mother and a Palestinian father, backgrounds he said were difficult to reconcile. He was often told he was “too American” to be Palestinian and, in his largely Latino neighborhood, he also didn’t feel Mexican enough.

But now as a congressional candidate he feels like he's just the person to find common ground within the U.S.’ divided political climate.

“As a Hispanic and an Arab, God gave me these really different experiences for a reason,” Campa-Najjar told The Huffington Post.

According to the 28-year-old, that reason is to bring people together across political and cultural backgrounds. He understands that families across the country are living paycheck-to-paycheck and having difficulty paying for much-needed health care, and he wants to serve them, working with Democrats and Republicans alike.

“There’s braindead politics on both sides,” he said. “There are certain situations, that for the sake of the American people, we need to put our differences aside and work together.”

Campa-Najjar, a communications specialist at the Washington D.C-based consulting firm ACN Strategies, said he’s even willing to work with President Donald Trump, who isn’t exactly admired in either of his Mexican or Arab communities.

One issue he's not willing to bend on, however: Trump's travel ban. He said he's not going to sacrifice freedom for a false sense of security.

“We were persecuted [after 9/11],” Campa-Najjar said. “I cannot imagine what would happen if that were allowed to happen under this administration.”

Campa-Najjar acknowledges that he's a "tough sell." Once, a Trump supporter told him that he didn't want the man to bring "Sharia law" into the area. Still, he is convinced that unity is possible.

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“I’d rather lose exploring every opportunity to unite than win exploiting every opportunity to divide,” Campa-Najjar said.