Eric Esshaki is a first generation American. His story is like a lot of Americans who chase and live the American Dream.
He’s running for Congress to ensure that current and future generations will have the same opportunities that he has had to achieve that Dream.
Eric’s father, Steve Esshaki, is a Chaldean Christian who immigrated from Iraq in the 1970’s because he believed in the American Dream. To get here, his father travelled to Lebanon on a vacation visa. He waited there for one year, unable to work, until he was legally approved to come to the United States. He lived in Southfield with his parents and five siblings, working at the family store in Detroit and eventually earning a degree in electrical engineering.
Eric’s mother Denise Esshaki grew up in Southgate, Michigan, and that is where Eric’s parents settled down to raise a family.
Eric and his two siblings attended church every Sunday at the same church that his mother grew up in. Eric’s parents instilled in him a strong work ethic and the value of being self-sufficient. At Southgate Anderson High School, Eric wrestled and played football. In the summer, he worked at McDonalds and a local painting company.
While attending Wayne State University, Eric worked as a nursing assistant at a local hospital. Like many kids, Eric wasn't ready for university and stopped attending classes. He decided to enroll in a vocational school in Toledo, Ohio, where he earned a certificate degree in practical nursing. At 20 years old, Eric started dating his wife, Heather, who also graduated from Southgate Anderson High School. Heather earned a bachelor's degree in political science and graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University.
After obtaining his practical nursing license, Eric started working at a nursing home and quickly became a manager. Soon after being promoted, Eric began to discover egregious violations that posed significant risks to the elderly patients he cared for. Unwilling to turn a blind eye to those violations, Eric reported them to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Eric was terminated shortly afterwards and subsequently filed a lawsuit against his former employer.
This became a key moment in Eric’s career. It is when he realized the necessary power of law to solve injustices.
Eric moved to Oakland County, Michigan, where he earned his associate degree in nursing from Oakland Community College and became a registered nurse. Eric worked and gained experience as a home care nurse, an emergency room nurse, and in various management roles. Around the same time, Eric and Heather were married.
Eric’s drive to achieve continued and he realized the importance of education. While working as a nurse, he earned a bachelor's degree from Oakland University, graduating summa cum laude and set his sights on becoming a lawyer. To pursue a law degree meant that there would be sacrifices. So, Eric and Heather moved into Eric’s parents’ basement. After three long years, Eric graduated from the University of Michigan Law School.
Upon graduation, Eric was recruited to work at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton and Garrison, based in New York City. While living there for two and half years, Eric and Heather had two boys, Elon and Eric.
Shortly after their second child was born, Eric and Heather decided to move back home to Birmingham, Michigan. Their children are now able to learn the essential family values their parents grew up on. Today, Eric and his family live just blocks away from his parents and remain close to the rest of their family.