Michigan, 8th District
Elissa has a long career of national service.
She most recently served as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs at the Pentagon, where she negotiated some of the Pentagon’s most sensitive national security matters. In that role, she served as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on security strategy and policy issues related to NATO, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. Elissa’s national security career began in the intelligence community. After witnessing the terrible attacks of 9/11 in New York City she committed herself to working to secure America. She was recruited into CIA directly out of graduate school, where she was trained as a Middle East analyst and served three tours of duty in Iraq.
Over the subsequent decade, Elissa served in a variety of roles in government, including as Special Assistant to the first Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, and as Senior Advisor on Iraq at the State Department. Elissa credits her Michigan values and a straightforward, commonsense approach in her success as a national security leader, an approach she intends to bring to Congress.
A third-generation Michigander, Elissa spent her early life on a farm in Holly, Michigan. The Slotkin family story is one of hard work and sacrifice: Elissa’s great-grandfather arrived on Ellis Island, achieving the American Dream by founding the family meat business, Hygrade Foods, headquartered in Detroit since 1949. Hygrade invented many foods, including the famous Ballpark Frank, first sold at Tiger Stadium. The value of hard, and often difficult work, was passed on from generation to generation in the Slotkin family.
Elissa shares the value of service with her husband Dave, an Apache pilot, who retired as a Colonel after 30 years in the U.S. Army.