Posted by Joan Hanna on October 17, 2016 in Blog
Arab American businessman Tony Khoury does not fit into a traditional box. Khoury is progressive on the environment, tax reform, and women’s reproductive and LGBTQ rights. At the same time, he holds conservative values when it comes to military strength and foreign policy. Khoury is running for U.S. Senate as an Independent in Florida against Republican incumbent, Marco Rubio, and Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy, as well as four other third party candidates. After living in Florida for more than three decades, he is proud to represent the Sunshine state. “I love living in Florida. The beaches, the weather -- it’s beautiful. The state is so diverse and as an immigrant, I’ve always felt welcomed. Everyone is happy living amongst one another here.
Khoury arrived in California at the age of 17 from Jerusalem to join his brother in Los Angeles and get an education. Amid earning his degree in aerospace engineering from Northrop University, Khoury worked different weekend jobs to pay for college and graduated one semester early. He was taught at a young age to work hard and value education above all else. “My father was illiterate, but when a school term ended, he would have my brother read him all of our report cards and there would be consequences if we didn’t receive good marks. My parents taught us that if we wanted to get out of poverty, education was the best way to achieve that dream.” After graduation, Khoury moved to Miami to work as a Senior Propulsion Engineer at Batch Air and four years later joined Eastern Airlines’ staff. Speaking about his entrepreneurial experiences, Khoury remarked, “once I gained enough experience with those jobs, I felt like I was ready to start my own ventures. I was able to be a savvy businessman and founded multiple aviation companies.”
Earlier this spring, Khoury debated whether to run for political office. At the time, Senator Rubio would not be seeking reelection, which made the decision easier for Khoury. “Over this election cycle, it seemed like both parties kept referencing that if the other wins, it would unleash a Pandora’s box. That divisiveness is not healthy. I wanted to give Florida voters another avenue to represent their views.” As an outsider, Khoury contends, he has fresh ideas and brings new energy to the table. “I’m running as an independent because the current two party system results in politicians waiting in line for their turn to enter into the system. I’ve never wanted to be a career politician. I want to serve Florida’s residents so I can amplify their voices. Whatever issues matter to the people the most, I want to bring them to the table. Highlighting overlooked ideas and having new discussions about making healthcare better, dealing with the student loan predicament, finding a reasonable solution to immigration reform -- those are all important to me because it’s what is important to the Florida voters I’ve been speaking with.” Thus far, he has self-funded his campaign, making him immune to special interests.
A day before Florida’s deadline to run for state office, Sen. Rubio filed the necessary paperwork for reelection. Although this has complicated the race for Khoury, he is still proud of the things he has accomplished and for the opportunity to serve his country. “Any person who has the chance to come here, it is heaven on earth. As Americans, we’re the most fortunate people on earth. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to come here, the chance to be accepted as a citizen, and to be part of the American dream.”