Sam LaHood

Director, Government Affairs

Sam LaHood is the Director of Government Affairs, leading IRI’s outreach to the United States Congress to share knowledge and expertise on democracy and governance issues related to America’s national interest. 

LaHood joined IRI in 2010 as the director of the Institute’s Egypt program and lead the program through the January 2011 revolution and resignation of Hosni Mubarak. LaHood helped build the Egypt program into one of the largest at IRI, mentoring newly formed political parties and candidates for office, conducting voter education and three international election observation missions. In March of 2012, LaHood transferred to Phnom Penh to direct the Cambodia program, which focused on youth empowerment and public opinion research. In April of 2013, he returned to the Washington office and served as a Program Officer and then Asia Deputy Regional Director. 

During his time with IRI, LaHood has frequently served as a trainer, often represents the Institute at donor and diplomatic events, has observed six elections in four countries and is an election judge in Maryland.  He has testified before Congress and conducted numerous print, radio and television interviews. 

Prior to IRI, LaHood was a traveling staff member on the McCain presidential campaign responsible for planning, organizing, and executing campaign events for Sen. McCain.  He was a political appointee for President George W. Bush and served at U.S. Embassy Baghdad in 2005 and 2006 where he was awarded the Department’s Meritorious Honor Award for his work on the crimes against humanity trial of Saddam Hussain.  Before Baghdad, LaHood was an appointee in Washington, D.C. with the State Department and Department of Energy. 

He is a graduate of St. Norbert College in Wisconsin and studied at the American University in Cairo and American University of Beirut.  LaHood has resided in six countries and traveled to more than 60. 

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