Sam Jammal grew up in and around the 39th District, raised by working class, immigrant parents from South America and the Middle East. The youngest of three children, Sam watched his parents sacrifice to provide their children with a better life. This perseverance when times were tough inspired Sam to put himself through law school and become a civil rights attorney. Sam’s story is the American story – passionate, driven, grounded in family and community and committed to lifting up those struggling to get ahead.
Why I’m Running: A Message from Sam
I am running because during these divided times we need the next generation of leaders to step up and lead. Too many of us are falling further and further behind. The American Dream was in trouble before Donald Trump and now it’s on life support.
We need new voices that will fight to make sure students and young professionals can get a good job, afford a down payment on a home, and start a family. We need leaders who can stand up and fight to make sure our government gets back to the basics and represents our best interest.
I have spoken with seniors who are worried about whether their retirement savings will be enough. I have seen small business owners struggling to get a loan or stay afloat for their employees. I have spoken to students and young professionals facing crippling student debt and putting off life decisions as a result. Our community deserves a fair shot and Washington is too busy with empty rhetoric and partisan fights to look out for us.
I will champion the values we believe in as Americans, the ones our parents and grandparents taught us: in America, nobody should have to choose between paying their utility bill and taking their child to the doctor. In America, we welcome our new neighbors who want to put in an honest day’s work and make a better life for their families, because we were once those new neighbors and America welcomed us. In America, we go for bold ideas, we think big, we don’t settle for second place and we lead in every sector, from health care and higher education to clean energy.
I am running because it’s time for change and next generation leadership. I hope you will join me in this campaign to fight for our community and restore the American Dream.
While in high school and as a student at the University of Southern California, Sam worked part-time jobs to pay tuition and rent, including busing tables in La Habra, cleaning rental cars just outside the 39th District in Cerritos, working retail at the Brea mall and cleaning suites at Angels Stadium. Sam balanced work, school and internships to pay for school, gain work experience and advance his career.
Sam has always been engaged in issues of equality and opportunity. Recognizing law as a key lever for pursuing justice, equality and change, Sam studied at The George Washington University Law School, focusing on civil rights. Rather than taking a typical high-paying law firm job to pay down his student loan debt, Sam worked for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) as a civil rights lawyer, advocating for the rights of Latino and immigrant students to receive a quality education.
During the 2008 presidential election, Sam served as Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Latino Voter Protection Task Force and worked on the Obama campaign. After the election, Sam stayed in Washington to serve as Legislative Counsel in the United States Senate where he focused on civil rights, labor and national security issues. Sam was later appointed by President Barack Obama to serve at the United States Department of Commerce where he worked to expand export opportunities for American companies and small businesses. Following his work at the Commerce Department, Sam served as Chief of Staff to a Southern California Member of Congress. Sam was one of the youngest in history to serve in this role, in addition to being one of only a handful of Arab or Latino Americans ever to serve as a Chief of Staff to a Member of Congress.
In 2015, Sam returned home to La Mirada to work for SolarCity and later Tesla on their efforts to expand renewable energy and lower consumers’ energy bills throughout Southern California. Sam currently lives in Fullerton and continues to advocate for renewable energy development and job creation in the clean energy and technology sectors.