Director of Government Affairs
John Desser serves on the Board of AIA and as Deputy Director of AIA. In this role, he helps coordinate AIA’s public policy agenda and communications to the U.S. government as well as to foreign governments.
Holding dual American and Israeli citizenship, Mr. Desser comes from a long line of Zionist leaders and visionaries. His great grandfather Mordechai Ben Ami was a Zionist writer and activist, and a contemporary of Theodore Herzl, as well as other important Zionist writers such as Shalom Aleichem, Echad Ha’ Am and Chaim Bialik. Mordechai Ben Ami attended and helped Herzl organize the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. Mr. Desser’s grandfather Micha Ben Ami, a radiologist, brought the first X-Ray machine to The Land in the 1920s, and wrote the first published Hebrew dictionary of radiological medical terms.
Mr. Desser has 26 years of political and government experience. In the 1990s, he served on the legislative staff of Sen. John McCain and former Congressman Jon Kyl, who later went on to become Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate. For 10 years he ran the health care practice of a large Washington D.C. lobbying firm. Mr. Desser also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the last two years of the George W. Bush Administration. He was also a health policy advisor to John McCain’s Presidential campaigns both in 2000 and 2008. Currently, he is the head of government affairs for a Silicon Valley-based ecommerce company.
Mr. Desser received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science/International Affairs from Northern Arizona University and has conducted graduate work in business administration at Johns Hopkins University.