Alp Basaran

American
Dreamer

Alp Basaran – Democrat for Congress NJ-9

Values

Honesty

We must take an honest look at our society. We have entered a dark era in which our government officials are kidnapping and caging immigrant children, marching in unison with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, appointing anti-abortion activists to the Supreme Court, and changing tax laws to benefit the wealthy few and their friends in government at the expense of hardworking families. Wealth inequality has reached historic proportions, and an entire presidency is now devoted to further entrenching that inequality.

Resilience

We are defined by the resilience of our communities. Even after slavery, the Indian Removal Act, segregation, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment camps, the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, and the Charlottesville white supremacist march, we are still here. America cannot be defined only by its failings. Our reach may exceed our grasp, and our many imperfections may live side by side with our aspirations, but our greatest strength is that our dreams define who we are as a people. Our dreams make us uniquely American and give our communities strength. We are the American Dream.

Fairness

Fairness must be our North Star. We can protect the American Dream and pass this great inheritance to our children if our public policies are guided by fairness. Unfortunately, our sense of fairness is under attack from the wealthy few and their friends in government whose short-termism and greed are destroying the American Dream. At a time when the rest of the world has all but caught up to us economically, militarily, and technologically, giving up on the American Dream will turn us into a small country with small ambitions defined only by our failings. We can compete in the world if we believe in the American Dream.

Security

The American Dream will propel us forward if we give hardworking Americans economic security and independence. Unfortunately, economic security and independence are privileges enjoyed only by the wealthy few, namely billionaires and ultra-millionaires. Everyone else is one serious illness or job loss away from financial ruin. We must have faith in the values enshrined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his State of the Union Address of 1944. We must ensure that all Americans have the tools to pursue happiness and realize their full potential. We must show the world that we are still a country defined by our competitive spirit and successes.

Freedom

Every individual and every community in America deserves a chance at the American Dream. Americans who are afraid of their government are not free. Americans who are chained to their employers to provide healthcare for their families, quality education for their children, and retirement benefits for themselves are not free. Americans who are afraid of starting their own businesses are not free. We must ensure that all Americans are free to pursue the American Dream. We are not just a country of immigrants, but a country with an immigrant spirit.

Meet

Alp Basaran arrived in New Jersey with his parents when he was four years old and became an undocumented immigrant after overstaying his visa. Alp was raised in a working-class home where his parents did not speak English and moved from one minimum wage job to another. From North Plainfield to Cliffside Park to Parlin, the family moved often as they chased jobs from gas stations to yellow cabs and tried to find their place in New Jersey.
Alp in a traditional Muslim circumcision ceremony
Alp in a traditional Muslim circumcision ceremony

Despite economic hardships, Alp received an excellent elementary school education thanks to the brilliant public elementary school teachers of New Jersey, and he never felt like an outsider in its diverse neighborhoods. Alp and his family spent their weekends in Paterson, visiting Turkish friends and renting Turkish-language movies from local grocery stores. Alp and his family even participated in a Muslim circumcision ceremony for Alp as if they were still in Turkey.

In the early 1990s, as the “trickle-down” economic policies of Republican presidents took their toll on hardworking families, Alp and his family were forced to move back to Turkey and live rent-free in the spare home of his uncle. Because of convoluted U.S. immigration policies, Alp and his mom waited in Turkey for their Green Cards for years while his dad lived in Cliffside Park and continued working as a New York City yellow cab driver. After four and a half years, Alp and his mom received their Green Cards at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul and the family was reunited in Fort Lee.

Alp’s father driving a New York City yellow cab
Alp’s father driving a New York City yellow cab

In Fort Lee, Alp once more found himself in a New Jersey school district that provided an excellent public school education full of honors and advanced placement classes. The family deliberately paid a substantial amount of their income toward rent in order to afford a good school district. The superb educational foundation provided by Fort Lee High School allowed Alp to complete three majors and write two honors theses at Vanderbilt University. Alp graduated Vanderbilt University magna cum laude, and he received his law degree from UCLA School of Law.

After racking up an absurd amount of student loan debt, Alp moved back to Fort Lee and worked as a corporate lawyer for nearly a decade in the New York offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Pepper Hamilton LLP. During that time, Alp also secured asylum for persecuted LGBTQ and HIV+ refugees on a pro bono basis and supported two disabled family members who suffered catastrophic illnesses and medical expenses. Alp recently started his own company, Aslan Capital Advisors LLC. Alp continues to live in Fort Lee with his wife, two small children, retired cab driver father, retired hairdresser mother, and Great Pyrenees rescue dog.

Alp giving a speech at the residence of the U.S. Consul General in Turkey
Alp giving a speech at the residence of the U.S. Consul General in Turkey

9TH Congressional District of New Jersey

Bergen County

Carlstadt

Cliffside Park

Cresskill

East Rutherford

Edgewater

Elmwood Park

Englewood

Englewood Cliffs

Fort Lee

Garfield

Hasbrouck Heights

Leonia

Little Ferry

Lyndhurst

Moonachie

North Arlington

Palisades Park

Ridgefield

Ridgefield Park

Rutherford

Saddle Brook

South Hackensack

Teaneck

Tenafly

Teterboro

Wallington

Wood-Ridge

Hudson County

Kearny

Secaucus

Passaic County

Clifton

Haledon

Hawthorne

Passaic

Paterson

Prospect Park

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