Posted by on October 05, 2012 in Blog

By Vieshnavi Rattehalli

2012 Fall Intern

Hosted by the Arab American Republicans of Washington, D.C. and the Arab American Democratic Caucus of Virginia, the 24th Annual Virginia Candidates’ Night Dinner took place this past Sunday, September 30th, at the Tysons Corner Marriot in Virginia.

The political forum featured a host of candidates addressing the packed ballroom, including U.S. Senate candidates Governor George Allen (R) and Governor Tim Kaine (D); 8th district congressional candidates James P. Moran (D) and Patrick Murray (R); 10th district candidates Frank Wolf (R) and Kristen Cabral (D); and 11th district candidates Gerry Connolly (D) and Chris Perkins (R).

The candidates spoke on topics such as the importance of the Arab American and American Muslim communities in the United States, the critical role of the Arab American community in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the debate on Palestinian statehood.

In addition to candidate speeches, there were two awards given to outstanding individuals. Hon. George R. Salem, Chairman of the Arab American Institute, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ms. Sobhi Ghandour, Director of Al-Hewar Center, was the recipient of the Outstanding Community Service Award.

Virginia is considered a battleground state for the presidential election, and several key congressional races are playing out this year. There is a significant Arab American population that is politically engaged in Virginia and this event is one of many that indicate the important role the Arab American community plays in deciding who wins this November.