Posted by on May 05, 2010 in Blog
Rich Ashooh has been active in his community throughout his life, and now after decades of success in the business world, he has decided to return to politics in his run for Congress to represent New Hampshire’s First District. After spending the last 15 years as Vice President of Government Relations for the Electronics & Integrated Solutions (E&IS) Operating Group of BAE Systems, he is returning to politics, coincidentally where his career began after graduating from college. In a recent interview with AAI, Ashooh discussed his decision to run for Congress and what he hopes to bring to Washington.
Ashooh’s first job out of college was in the U.S. Senate where he spent six years working for his state Senator and on the Committee on Governmental Affairs. Even prior to his experience working in Congress, Ashooh was exposed to local government while growing up in New Hampshire and that experience influenced his strong belief in the power of local politics. As it turns out, the first political campaign Ashooh ever attended is for the very seat that he is currently running for. Ashooh remarked that it was through this early exposure to a political atmosphere that he “learned the magic of politics” and believes that “from your hometown you can actually shape world events by getting involved.” It is this very mentality that influenced Ashooh to run for Congress this time around.
As a businessman, Ashooh has been frustrated with a general “lack of willingness to confront our fiscal crisis.” After witnessing recent economic struggles in the U.S., he decided that he has “more to contribute as a candidate than on the sidelines.” His main concerns are jobs and the economy, specifically the out of control national debt and the federal deficit that his children’s generation will inherit. Ashooh believes that he can apply a “Yankee frugality,” to the federal government and expects the federal government “to adhere to the same principles of fiscal responsibility.” When asked about his campaign thus far, Ashooh noted that he has been impressed with the public’s interest on important issues such as the economy. He finds it rewarding and encouraging to listen to the community because they are already “engaged and concerned.”
Ashooh’s involvement in his community is widespread, ranging from the work he does with his local church to supporting the Arab American community in his work with national organizations such as the American Task Force for Lebanon. Ashooh grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, where his grandparents settled when they emigrated from Lebanon. Manchester has a large ethnic community, making Ashooh no stranger to cultural exchange and outreach. He has developed a strong interest in sharing “the blessings of our culture with the broader community.” During his campaign, Ashooh notes that the support of the Arab American community has been very gratifying and that he compares it to “a large extended family that you didn’t know you had.” As the grandchild of a family that immigrated to the United States, Rich Ashooh remarks that his parents instilled in him the values to “treasure that which this country offers.” It is in this belief that he also encourages others in the Arab American community to get involved in politics, whether as a candidate or as a volunteer. He says that “the best thing we can do is lead by example.”
The diversity of the candidates in the upcoming Congressional election is evident, where Ashooh is running against another Arab American candidate, Bob Bestani. When discussing the election, Ashooh remarked that “there is something to be said for the water in New Hampshire.”
The Congressional election in New Hampshire is on September 14th, 2010. For more information about Rich Ashooh please visit www.ashoohforcongress.com