Farrah Douglas Makes History: First Iranian American Elected to Public Office in San Diego County
Washington, D.C. – A number of Iranian Americans were on the ballot on Election Day, November 2nd, 2010. Of the six candidates listed below, Farrah Douglas was successful in her bid for a city council seat in Carlsbad, California, while the remaining candidates fell short in their bids for elective office. Mark Ameli, Shiva Farivar and Bijan Mazarji were running for judicial and city council seats in Southern California. Tony Fayyazi and Farid Khavari were candidates for state office in South Carolina and Florida.
Farrah Douglas, a successful businesswoman with an exceptional record of civic involvement, was a candidate for the City Council of Carlsbad, California. Douglas was one of four candidates vying for two council seats and was considered one of the favorites in the race. U.S. Congressman Brian Bilbray, State Senator Mimi Walters, Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis, the Republican Party of San Diego, and the Lincoln Club of San Diego, were among the many community leaders, public officials, and organizations that have endorsed her campaign. Douglas received the highest vote with a total of 45% of all the ballots cast and is the first Iranian American to be elected to public office in San Diego County. IAPAC, the connected PAC of PAAIA, endorsed and financially supported Douglas’ campaign.
Mark Ameli, a candidate for Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, had a stunning victory in the June 8th primary and was in the November runoff election. Ameli’s 30 years of experience as a litigator and 15 years as a mediator and arbitrator, and his appointment as a temporary judge in various courts of Los Angeles County made him eminently qualified to be a Judge of the Superior Court of the State of California. U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman, L.A. Sheriff Lee Baca, the Mexican American Bar Association, and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, were among the many community leaders, public officials, and organizations that have endorsed his campaign. Ameli received a total of 607,456 votes falling just 5% short of the approximate 1.3 million ballots cast. IAPAC, the connected PAC of PAAIA, endorsed and financially supported Ameli’s campaign.
Shiva Farivar was a candidate for the Irvine City Council. Farivar, who currently serves as the Chair of the Irvine Community Services Commission, started her campaign over a year ago. During this time, she has visited over 8,000 homes in Irvine, meeting people of all backgrounds. Her campaign was endorsed by the Mayor of Irvine, two current City Council Members, the Orange County Federation of Labor, the Orange County Democratic Party, and several organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Women's Campaign Forum. Farivar was one of seven candidates vying for two city council seats. She received the fourth highest vote total falling just 2,825 votes short of getting elected. IAPAC, the connected PAC of PAAIA, endorsed and financially supported Farivar’s campaign.
Bijan Mazarji was also a candidate for Irvine City Council. The son of Iranian father and American mother, Mazarji has lived in Irvine his entire life. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Mazarji served a tour in Iraq in 2005. Today, Mazarji serves as an employee of the City of Irvine Community Services Department and is a member of the US Army Reserve. He also is a graduate student at the CSU Long Beach. Marjazi was considered the underdog candidate and finished a distant sixth in the race with a total of 4% of the vote.
Tony Fayyazi, an educator, was an independent candidate running for State Superintendent of Education in South Carolina. Fayyazi came to the United States at the age of 17 in order to pursue his higher education. He attended the University of South Carolina where he received his BA in Psychology and M.Ed. in school counseling. Fayyazi was one of five candidates in the race and received 1.36% of the total vote.
Farid Khavari, an economist, author, patent-holder and small business owner, was independent candidate for Florida Governor. Khavari was born in Yazd, Iran. He was among the first group of people to serve in the Iran Education Corps and spent two years teaching in a northern Iranian village. Khavari graduated from the University of Hamburg with a Masters in Economics and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Bremen. He was one of eight declared candidates race and received 0.14% of the total vote.