Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Blog

As the first Palestinian American to run for governor in Texas, Farouk Shami embodies the classic “American Dream.” Since coming to the U.S. as a student from Ramallah forty-five years ago, Shami has worked his way to the forefront of the business world and is the Founder and Chairman of Farouk Systems, Inc. Although his company has been incredibly successful throughout the world, known for the innovative and extremely popular BioSilk and CHI products, he is now venturing from his role as a businessman into politics. Shami has entered the political scene with a desire to bring economic revival to the state of Texas. In a recent interview with AAI, Shami discussed his decision to run for Governor.

After witnessing the current recession and devastating unemployment rates in this country, Shami feels fortunate to live in the U.S. and wants to contribute to solving these economic problems. Shami is proud to be a Texan and has a vision for it to become one of the most prosperous states in America. He strongly believes in the potential of his home state: “We’ve got the people, the pride, the integrity, the land, the natural resources; we’ve got what it takes.” After watching politicians run government over the years, Shami has been disappointed with the current economic platforms and the lack of economic growth in the state. He wants to use lessons from his success as a businessman to reform the economy in Texas.

Shami has been instrumental in bringing jobs to Texas, and in 2007 he relocated Farouk Systems Inc. production back to Texas. On the issue of job creation : “Everyone gets an equal opportunity; it is time to re-import jobs and bring the American dream home.” Throughout his recent experiences campaigning, Shami finds that the most rewarding part of running for governor is meeting people on a grassroots level and having the opportunity to serve the people and bring change to Texas. He has taken to heart the fact that people are tired of their current economic situation, saying, “I’m ready to serve that change.”

During his campaign, Shami has received wide-spread support, but even he admits that it can be challenging when people fixate on the fact that he is a Palestinian American. When discussing his experience as an Arab American running for public office he states, “I’m an American, I’ve been here for 44 years, I’m serving the economy here, I’m serving the people here, participating in stimulating the economy. People have a problem with origin, but that [origin] is not the issue.” Shami wants people to focus on the most pressing issues facing Texas, and that instead of judging people based on where they are born, “we should judge people by their achievement.”

Shami is a devoted Texan, but he is also proud of his Arab heritage and is involved in Arab American activism across the U.S. He is a member of the Arab American Institute’s President’s Circle, the Arab American Leadership Council and the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) which awarded him in 2007 for Excellence in Commerce and Industry. Shami also strongly encourages the Arab American community to get involved in the electoral process. When speaking about minorities getting involved in voting, he remarks that “it is a treasure and a responsibility and a duty for us to vote, it is an expression of our democracy to choose our own representatives.” Shami believes that what makes America strong is the diversity of culture, and that “the Arab American community really needs to unite as citizens, as Americans, as proud Americans and be part of the system.” Through his run for Governor, Shami hopes to help open the door for Arab Americans and other minorities in politics in the future.

The Primary election in Texas is on March 2nd

For more information about Farouk Shami please visit