New Jersey Republicans preparing for the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week have the added excitement of Gov. Chris Christie delivering the keynote address Tuesday night. New Jersey Federation of Republican Women President Sherine El-Abd told NJ Today Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor that she is honored Christie will be the keynote speaker. She also discussed her involvement in the Republican Party, the campaign of Joe Kyrillos and women in New Jersey politics.
El-Abd is one of the delegates going to Tampa for the RNC and said she is very happy that Christie will be the keynote speaker. “I am not just excited, I am honored as every citizen of New Jersey ought to be because he is front and center,” she said. “We’re very proud of him. He’s done a great job. The whole country has noticed.”
The Republican Party has been criticized for lacking diversity, but El-Abd, who is an Arab-American, said, “The fact that I am here and the fact that I am a statewide delegate and the president of the federation says a lot about the Republican Party not recognizing minorities.”
Getting women involved in politics is an area El-Abd said the Federation encourages. She said the organization is working with the Eagleton Institute on a program for women called Ready to Run. “So we’re going to, this year, work even closer with them to encourage women to run,” she said. “And we do have people who are ready and willing. The problem is always money.”
El-Abd is involved in the campaign of another Arab-American — State Sen. Joe Kyrillos who is running against Sen. Robert Menendez. She said she is a member of Women for Kyrillos, helping to raise money and talk to people about him.
El-Abd came to the United States when she was 18 from Egypt. While she said the country is on the path to being better off since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown, she said it is a difficult and dangerous time in Egypt. But she’s hopeful for the future.
“What I see as a huge success is the fact that the fear factor has been eliminated and when there is no fear, there’s always hope,” she said. “The Egyptian people did live under a democracy many years ago prior to 1952. It will come again. And the Egyptian people are known for their endurance, but they’re also known for their persistence.”