IAPAC Holds Third Annual Bay Area Fundraising Reception
San Francisco, CA- On the afternoon of Sunday, March 5, 2006, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) held its Third Annual Bay Area Fundraising Reception at San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Special guests included the Honorable Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, and the Honorable Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 5. The event marked the three-year anniversary of IAPAC and provided the organization with an opportunity to update the Iranian American community in Northern California on the status of IAPAC's accomplishments and activities.
The afternoon’s program began with remarks by Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was elected the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco on December 9, 2003. Mayor Newsom is a fourth generation San Franciscan who has devoted his career to public service. He was elected three times to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and served on the Board from 1997 until 2004.
Mayor Newsom began his remarks by affirming San Francisco’s commitment to diversity. “I believe that San Francisco's greatest attribute is its diverse population,” said Newsom. The appointment of Iranian Americans to key positions in the Mayor’s administration reflects the mayor's commitment to diversity. These appointments include Mr. Ahsha Safai, Deputy Director Mayor’s Office of Community Development and Ms. Nazly Mohajer, San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Mayor Newsom congratulated Iranian Americans on their outstanding contributions to the economic and social fabric of American society and encouraged the Iranian American community in the San Francisco Bay area to educate the broader community about the richness of Iranian culture.
Following Mayor Newsom, Ross Mirkarimi, the first American of Iranian descent elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, spoke about the important role organizations like IAPAC play in the American political process. “I would not have been elected to office if it were not for the support of the Iranian American community,” said Mirkarimi. Supervisor Mirkarimi urged Iranian Americans to continue to field and support candidates for public office and to support those who represent the community’s positions on important matters such as civil liberties and small business issues.
Next, IAPAC Junior Trustee Ms. Mercedes Salem explained how she learned about IAPAC and why she decided to join the organization. While clerking at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, Ms. Salem learned about IAPAC’s efforts to obtain Congressional sponsorship to conduct a bipartisan briefing on Capitol Hill addressing the Iranian American Bar Association’s report on the detention and treatment of Iranian nationals under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. “IAPAC is instrumental in providing a channel to lawmakers and voice that can be heard on Capitol Hill,” said Ms. Salem.
Following Ms. Salem, IAPAC Trustee and Director, Mr. Cyrus Amir-Mokri, delivered a presentation detailing IAPAC's activities and accomplishments. Mr. Amir-Mokri explained that IAPAC's events and activities provide the community with an opportunity to discuss policy issues with their elected officials. Speaking generally about political action committees (PACs), which were created under the 1972 Federal Election Campaign Act to guide the raising and spending of funds for candidates running for public office in the United States, Mr. Amir-Mokri added that “PACs can be instrumental in providing communities with the organization and pooled resources needed for viewpoint expression and to assist candidates for elected office.”