Democrat Michael Saba, a native of Bismarck, was certified as a state representative to the South Dakota State Legislature for District 9 following a recount conducted on Monday.
Republican Rep. Michael Clark, of Hartford, had requested the recount after his third-place finish against Saba and Republican Deb Peters. Saba, who initially was ahead by 68 votes, dropped only one vote as a result of the recount.
"I have had ... discussions with former North Dakota Governor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer regarding opening an international trade office in South Dakota modeled on the North Dakota International trade office based in Fargo," said Saba, who lives in Hartford, S.D., and represents the western portion of Sioux Falls and the Minnehaha County towns of Hartford, Humboldt and Crooks as well as the Wall Lake Township area.
"We have also discussed joint international trade delegations composed of both North and South Dakotans. This has been successfully done in the past and could be revitalized in the future for the benefit of both states. I hope to take the lead in those efforts," said Saba, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia, taught in Thailand in the 1960s and was a training coordinator for Peace Corps programs in Africa in the early 1970s.
He joined Mobil Oil as manager of Middle East affairs in the mid-1970s and has been an international health and business adviser since 1980.
Saba served as the director of International Development for Avera Health, executive director of Development for Sanford Children's Clinics, and vice president for International Development for ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
He was the first executive director of the National Association of Arab Americans based in Washington, D.C., and past president of the Attiyeh Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation promoting U.S.-Arab Relations.
Saba holds undergraduate degrees in education and biology from Minot State University in North Dakota. He received a master’s degree from the University of Illinois in Cross-Cultural and Comparative Education and a doctorate in international relations. He has written and published four books, including "Ethnic History of North Dakota."
Saba was taken hostage in the Iraq Gulf war in 1990 and, after escaping into Jordan, was instrumental in negotiating the release of more than 1,000 American hostages from Iraq and Kuwait.