Saddam Azlan Salim is a first-generation immigrant born in Bangladesh. Growing up, he and his family experienced severe drought followed by the flood of 1998, the most extreme and long-lasting flood of the century in Bangladesh. He saw first-hand the damage caused by natural disasters as an 8-year-old boy.
His father brought his family to America in 2000 so his kids could get a world class education and a better life. Only a year later, his family was evicted because the building they lived in was sold for luxury condos. Homeless on the streets of DC, Saddam watched as his belongings were put out on the side of the road and taken by strangers. At the time, he and his siblings spoke no English so they did not understand what was happening.
An Immigrant Story
A family friend took them in, and they lived in basements in Falls Church for two years until they were eligible for Fairfax County’s low-income affordable housing program. Both his parents worked minimum wage jobs and relied on public transportation to get to work. Saddam’s father worked his way up from a dishwasher to the chef for more than 20 years at the popular restaurant Haandi Indian Cuisine on West Broad Street.
They were also able to use the community health centers so the family could get the healthcare they needed, including a diagnosis for a reproductive condition his mother had struggled with for many years.
Saddam attended Falls Church High School where he was a track and field athlete, president of his class and a recipient of the John Morris Athletic Scholarship. During his senior year of high school, his mother’s health issues required surgery. Since his parents relied on minimum wage jobs, Saddam stayed back to help his mother, giving up college out of state to instead attend Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University. With the help of community healthcare, his mother’s surgery was a success, but the medical bills were a source of struggle for the family.
While in college, he also went back to serve as assistant coach for track & field at his high school. The affordable education at NVCC and GMU allowed him to get a college education while helping at home and giving back to the community. He graduated from George Mason University in 2012 with Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and went back to GMU for a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in public and non-profit finance.
Finding a Home in Falls Church
During his career Saddam has worked at PenFed Credit Union, Kearney and Company and the United States Institute of Peace as a financial consultant. Today, Saddam works for 11th Hour Service as a Senior Consultant advising federal clients.
Saddam has also been active in his community as a leader of political and business associations. He has served as Co-Chair to the Providence District Democratic Committee and Finance Vice Chair of Fairfax County Democratic Committee. He was the founding member of both API and FCDC Black Caucus. He currently serves as second Vice Chair of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Committee, Vice President of Fairfax Young Democrats, Co-State Director for South Asians for America and is a Board Member of DemBiz Council.
Saddam believes in public service, because he has seen the real effects of affordable housing, healthcare, education and community support on his life. The City of Falls Church and Fairfax County helped his family survive and supported him through his education and career. Today, he wants to give back and serve that community. Help us elect a new kind of leader, who focuses on Virginia’s future and the issues that matter!