Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Blog

By Danielle Malaty

David-Imad Ramadan is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, first elected in November 2011. Ramadan is also a successful businessman and has taken the 9th largest US Franchise, Curves International into the Middle East and India. He serves as CEO of 'Curves – Middle East' and 'Curves – India'. Ramadan is also a frequent commentator on TV and Radio news networks such as ABC's Good Morning America, LBC, MSNBC, France 24, Al-Hurra, BBC, and NPR.

Ramadan has served on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University; Governor Bob McDonnell appointed him on July 1, 2010 and he ended his term on January 2012. Ramadan was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates to serve as a representative of the 87th district, which spans Loudoun County and Prince William County.

Ramadan is a political activist with active roles in the Republican Party of Virginia, The Loudoun County Republican Committee, and the Arab American Republican community. He has served on presidential political campaigns as well as on gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns and was appointed in 2008 to conduct ethnic outreach for the RPV. In 2010, he participated in the Republican National Committee’s "Fire Pelosi" Bus Tour/Campaign and stood side-by-side with key Republicans. He speaks and writes Arabic and English fluently.

I spoke with Mr. Ramadan recently for a more insider view of the life of a successful Arab American. He told me that he was the first immigrant in his entire family to come to the United States from Lebanon in 1989. He attended George Mason University for his undergraduate studies in Political Science, and again for his graduate studies in International Business and Transactions. Ramadan additionally taught at Mason as an adjunct professor before he was appointed to the Board of Visitors.

We got to talk about why he came to the United States. As most of our parents and parents’ parents did, he came to the United States to pursue the American Dream. He was subsequently followed to the US by four brothers, his parents, and his grandmother. Ramadan married a native Virginian that he met in Western Franklin County. He and his family currently live in Loudon County.

His political career began at a young age and flourished quickly. Ramadan worked for every gubernatorial and presidential campaign on the Republican side in the state of Virginia since 1989. Ramadan is the first Lebanese American first-generation to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates, and spoke highly of the building in which he works by telling me that Thomas Jefferson designed and built it, and notable historical American figures such as Patrick Henry, George Washington, and George Mason have walked the same halls before.

We then started talking about his Lebanese heritage and what it means to him as an Arab American. He described the Lebanese as being known to the world as traders, merchants, and easily adaptable people. Ramadan shared a fun fact: the first Lebanese person to come to America was Christopher Columbus’s cartographer. He described Virginia as “fantastic” and “a great state to live in, full of history.” He learned that there is a fine line between trying hard to not forget the country and culture that you came from and not differentiating yourself from others. He says he found a balance between the two, appreciating his Lebanese heritage while enjoying the liberty and freedoms afforded to him by the United States. A self-described American patriot, he still holds his culture in high regard.

I asked Mr. Ramadan what made him want to run for office. He responded by reiterating his years of political activism, but stressed the fact that after all the United State’s has afforded him as an Arab American, he wanted a chance to pay it forward. He attributed his prosperity, success as a businessman, and the wellbeing of his family here to the United States.

I asked Mr. Ramadan about what his favorite accomplishment was as a public servant. He prides himself on being accessible to the people and allowing his constituents to have the opportunity to reach out to him. On his campaigns, he conducts outreach to specific groups. Since 25 percent of his district are Americans of Indian descent, his campaign conducts major outreach to the Indian community, and like most communities, they were uninvolved and they are more involved now than they were before.

As a general message to Arab Americans, Ramadan advised us to “be proud of who you are, be involved in local politics, never forget the old country, but keep your allegiance to the best country in the world, the United States of America.”

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