Democratic supporters, including Hillary Clinton, celebrated the victory of Donna Shalala
“… we want our community back, we want our country back and we want our state back.” Congresswoman-elect Donna Shalala
Former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala wins seat in US Congress amid historic votes in midterm elections
(Translation appears in Arabic section)
N.Y- M. E. Times Int'l: Former US Cabinet secretary and university chancellor, Democrat Donna Shalala won a US House seat in Florida held by a Republican. Shalala was running for elective office for the first time at age 77. She won the 27th District over former television journalist Maria Elvira Salazar. The district was represented for decades by GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring. Shalala was Health and Human Services secretary under President Bill Clinton. She was president of the University of Miami from 2001 through 2015 and was UW-Madison chancellor from 1988 to 1993. A onetime Somali refugee and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants shared the historic distinction of becoming the first two Muslim women elected to the US Congress. Ilhan Omar, 37, and Rashida Tlaib, 42, are Democrats from the US Midwest and outspoken advocates of minority communities. Omar won a House seat in a strongly Democratic district in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding Keith Ellison who was himself the first Muslim ever elected to Congress. Tlaib ran unopposed in a congressional district that stretches from Detroit to Dearborn, Michigan.
Former US President Bill Clinton and Donna Shalala
the former Secretary of Health in Clinton administration
LEBANON'S Foreign and Expatriates Ministry congratulated in a statement the American people on the 2018 congressional elections, felicitating in particular the elected deputies of Lebanese origin Ralph Abraham, Darine Lahoud, Donna Shalala, Gareth Grafes and Charlie Crist.
The ministry also congratulated Chris Senounou on his election as governor of New Hampshire.
"Lebanon is proud of its expatriates who raised their country's name up high and were a role model of integration into host communities which paved the way for their success," statement read.
"This is a great victory for the Lebanese expatriate community and Americans of Lebanese origin," Ministry said, hoping to work with elected officials to consolidate Lebanese-American relations, for the welfare of both countries and the happiness of both people.
Buoyed by her name recognition and fueled by rage at President Donald Trump, Donna Shalala won a nationally watched race for a Miami congressional district, flipping a Republican-held seat to help Democrats take the US House of Representatives.
Hillary Clinton and Donna Shalala
Shalala, who was born in 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio, to an immigrant family from Beit Shalala in North Lebanon, defeated Maria Elvira Salazar, a veteran Spanish-language TV news anchor with no political experience. At 77, Shalala will become the second-oldest House freshman in US history.
“This campaign was always not about me, but about our community and about our future,” Shalala told cheering supporters at the Coral Gables Woman’s Club. “Bringing us together is absolutely critical for our future.
Shalala frequently blasted Trump’s immigration policies. She said her election sends a message to Washington “that we want our community back, we want our country back and we want our state back. We want it back for the kids who are scared to go to school; we want it back for the LGBTQ community. We want it back for the workers at the airport who don’t make much money; we want it back for the Haitians and the Hondurans and the Nicaraguans and the Venezuelans and the Colombians and the Cubans.”
Shalala congratulated her opponents, Salazar and Mayra Jolie, calling their participation proof that it is the “year of the woman. And the fact they put themselves on the line is important, whether they’ve been Republicans or Democrats, I hope that we can bring this country together.”
Former US President George W. Bush awarded Donna Shalala a distinction
"The infection that has affected all of us the hate is just un-American and we have to work forward in a positive way. We believe in strong borders but we also believe in a country that accepts people as they come into this country it gives them unbelievable opportunities. So this campaign has always been about the American dream, about making sure it is there for everyone; that’s what I’m going to work for in Washington. And Mr President ready or not here we come.
Won the majority
Shalala won the majority Hispanic district despite not speaking Spanish, but she told reporters that she had worked the district “from Little Havana to Richmond Heights” and didn’t neglect any community. She said it didn’t make a difference to voters that she didn’t always speak their language.
“What was important is what was in my heart and whether I could tell them how much I love the community and how much I was willing to fight for them,” she said.