Kyle Sampson’s political and professional influencers represent a diverse group – Gen. Colin Powell, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Nix Jr., and Philadelphia Congressman William Gray III.
One shared similarity is that each is an African American who scaled heights previously unreached by a member of their race. Following in their footsteps is Sampson, who on Oct. 26 became the first African American member of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission.
Sampson’s nomination by then-Gov. Tom Wolf was confirmed by the State Senate, and his historic swearing-in ceremony was held on Dec. 15. Sampson said he is also the first Muslim on the Commission.
“I’m honored to be appointed to the Commission,” said Sampson, whose five-year term extends to Oct. 26, 2027. “I see my role as protecting Pennsylvania consumers.”
A native of West Philadelphia, Sampson’s passion for politics and justice stems from his parents, whom he called “community activists.” Committed to change for the better and fighting against racial inequality, the Sampson family’s activism provided an example that Kyle has followed.
From 1986-89 Sampson served as President of the Young Democrats of Philadelphia, the official youth wing of the Democratic Party. In 1987, he made history by being the youngest person ever elected to the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. He served two terms; at the time terms were two years rather than the current four. Following years of not being on the State Committee, he was reelected in 2018 and again in 2022.
Sampson has witnessed the debate and passing of historic legislation. As a legislative intern for Philadelphia City Councilman John C. Anderson, he had a front row seat for the passing of Philadelphia’s Minority Set Aside legislation. As a legislative intern for the late U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip Gray, Sampson saw firsthand the national debate and ultimate passage of Anti-Apartheid laws.
Sampson’s unique experiences extend to his education. Obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Connecticut State University and Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at Fordham University, he was awarded two prestigious international fellowships that took him to Qatar University in Doha, Qatar and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Sampson spent three years in Egypt and one year in Qatar.
While in Cairo, he was hired to serve as foreign production assistant for the award-winning film Malcolm X, working with Academy Award winners Spike Lee and Denzel Washington. Sampson has also been invited by the U.S. Department of State to lecture at institutions in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“I feel as at home in the Middle East as I do in West Philadelphia,” he said.
With the support of the U.S. Dept. of State, Sampson has moderated training programs for American Imams. Conducted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), under the patronage of His Highness, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the programs are ongoing.
An entrepreneur, Sampson utilized his expertise in international business, foreign relations, and public policy to establish the US Reconstruction and Development Corporation. The company is a prime subcontractor for the U.S. Department of Defense and has been awarded numerous major U.S. military supply contracts in Iraq and Kuwait.
Sampson recently served as a liaison between the Embassy of the UAE and members of the U.S. House of Representatives to establish Abu Dhabi as a pre-clearance facility for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Pre-clearance allowed U.S.–bound passengers to undergo all immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections in Abu Dhabi prior to departure.
In a letter recommending Sampson to serve as Associate Director for Government Relations at Penn Medicine, Congressman Robert Brady noted Sampson’s accomplishments abroad.
“Kyle has a tremendous amount of international experience in management and government procurement, and is an innovative strategic leader with an expertise in transforming concepts into high-impact results.”
Closer to home, Sampson is President of the West Philadelphia Economic Development Council, a Registered Community Organization with the City of Philadelphia Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment. He believes his background in city planning and zoning played a pivotal role in his appointment to the Commission. State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams of Philadelphia highlighted Sampson’s background in his September 2022 letter to Wolf recommending him for the Commission.
Sampson, wrote Williams, “brings a wealth of experience from the private sector, particularly in economic development. He serves as President of the West Philadelphia Economic Development Council, which is one of the largest Registered Community Organizations in Philadelphia. Kyle will add to the diversity of the Commission. I’m confident he will work to protect the public interest in real estate brokerage transactions.”
Protecting the public interest is a goal for Sampson.
“I hear every day of unscrupulous real estate deals going on,” he said. “Consumers have to be protected. I am looking forward to Governor-elect (Josh) Shapiro’s leadership in protecting Pennsylvanians against unethical and illegal acts committed by those in the real estate industry.”
There are five committees on the Real Estate Commission, and Sampson said he would like to be appointed to either the Enforcement Committee and/or the Education Committee. The former is instrumental in protecting consumers, the latter in providing real estate business opportunities for minorities.
Sampson said he would like to see the Commission be more proactive in consumer protection. He has interest in meeting with legislative members to see what legislation can be introduced. To that end, he has spoken with State Representative Amen Brown about stricter consumer protection laws.
Regarding the Education Committee, Sampson said he would “love to see Pennsylvania’s historical black universities, Cheyney University and Lincoln University, offer real estate classes.”
Increased education could lead to more business contracts for minorities, and greater participation in real estate by African Americans. Challenges exist, but Sampson is encouraged about the future of Pennsylvania.
“I’m very optimistic about Governor-elect Shapiro,” he said prior to the inauguration, “and the direction the commonwealth is moving in.”