Turkish American Elected Officials

Hacibey Catalbasoglu

Hacibey ‘Haci’ Catalbasoglu was elected as an Independent in the November 7, 2017 general election to the Board of Alders for Ward 1 in New Haven, Connecticut. Haci is 19 years old and a junior at Yale University. He is the youngest Turkish American to ever run and be elected to public office. He is also one of the youngest Alders to ever serve on the Board of Alders in New Haven. In 2017, he was nominated to serve on the city’s Commission on Homelessness after many years of volunteering and advocacy for the New Haven Livable City Initiative through New Haven’s Youth@Work program. He was recommended for confirmation to the Commission by a unanimous vote of the Board of Alders’ Aldermanic Affairs Committee on April 24, 2017. As a member of the Commission, Haci is tasked with advising New Haven Mayor Toni Harp on how to actively combat the homelessness epidemic in New Haven. In the summer of 2016, he had the opportunity to intern for U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).


Honorable Jay Karahan

Judge Jay (Ceyhun) Karahan was elected to judicial office in November 2002 and was sworn in as Judge of Harris County Criminal Court-at-Law No. 8 on January 1, 2003. He was re-elected to that office 3 more times and served until December 31, 2018, when he retired from active judicial service. Judge Karahan is a native of Tampa, Florida. Judge Karahan moved to Texas in 1979 to study law at South Texas College of Law. In 1987, the U.S. Attorney General appointed him an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. As a federal prosecutor he served in the Major Offender Division, Bank Fraud Task Force, and as a district coordinator for child exploitation investigations and prosecutions. As both a state and federal prosecutor Judge Karahan tried to jury verdict over 100 serious felony cases. He is licensed to practice before the Texas Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Since 1988 Judge Karahan has been certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a Criminal Law Specialist.


Honorable Ali Paksoy

Judge Ali Paksoy serves as a district court judge for the Judicial District 27-B of North Carolina. In June 2005, Judge Paksoy was appointed to fill the unexpired term of a retiring judge. He has been re-elected three times to consecutive four-year terms, most recently in 2014. Prior to becoming a judge, he maintained a general law practice with trial experience in all levels of court for twenty-eight years. Judge Paksoy is a native of Cleveland County, North Carolina and received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law.



Tayfun Selen

Turkish American Tayfun Selen of Chatham, New Jersey was elected on January 3, 2019 as the mayor of Chatham Township in the state of New Jersey, becoming the first Turkish American to hold such a position in the United States. In Chatham, by law, the public elects the municipal committee of three to five members, and the committee determines the mayor. Previously, Selen was elected as the Republican candidate to fill a vacant seat on the Chatham Township Committee in the November 7, 2017 elections. He served the remaining two years of Committee member John Maurer’s term. Maurer, a Republican, resigned his seat in late August. Selen is Chairman of the Chatham Township Republican Committee and previously ran for New Jersey State Assembly in 2013 and 2015. Selen is an architect, accountant, and businessman who serves on the Advisory Board for Montclair State University’s School of Business. He previously held a seat on his local Board of Adjustment. Selen holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Architecture from Istanbul Technical University and an MBA from Montclair State University in New Jersey.