IAPAC & PAAIA Rally Iranian American Support for Darius Shahinfar for Congress
Washington, D.C. - With the 2008 elections fast approaching, Iranian Americans are once again demonstrating their growing influence in the American electoral arena by rallying behind the candidacy of Darius Shahinfar. Shahinfar is a first generation American of Iranian descent who is running as a Democrat for New York’s 21st Congressional District seat being vacated by Representative Mike McNulty (D-NY).
From the east coast to the west coast, Iranian Americans are busy raising funds, organizing events, and reaching out at the grassroots level in support of Shahinfar’s campaign. Recently, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) joined forces to organize two fundraising events in support of Shahinfar’s bid to become the first American of Iranian descent to serve in the US Congress.
On Thursday, June 26th, Iranian Americans in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area gathered at the home of Cheri and Yousef Javadi in support of Shahinfar’s campaign for Congress.
Babak Hoghooghi, Executive Director of PAAIA, began the evening’s program by introducing Shahinfar as a credible and viable candidate for U.S. Congress. “Darius has worked at all levels of government. He is a former Congressional Aide and an Albany Deputy County Attorney,” Hoghooghi explained. “He understands the many challenges facing America today and believes that solutions will be found using a rational approach to policy that prioritizes fairness and justice.”
In his speech, Shahinfar thanked members of the host committee and discussed how much Iranian American support means to his campaign. "I am very pleased to receive the support of PAAIA and IAPAC in my campaign for Congress,” said Shahinfar. “The level of enthusiasm my candidacy has generated in the Iranian American community has been deeply moving for me and my family.”
Shahinfar explained that he decided to run for Congress because he believes that America must work better for all Americans and that we must repair our relations with the rest of the world. “I want our great nation to once again be the beacon of freedom, opportunity, and hope that America has been for centuries,” said Shahinfar. “That is why the theme of my campaign is to -- Renew America's Promise -- the promise of a better tomorrow for our families and our nation.”
Shahinfar also spoke about his experience working for U.S. Representative Kristin Gillibrand as a Capital District Representative tending to constituent concerns and issues in and around the region. “I know how a Representative can fight on behalf of working families and bring about positive change.”
A few days later, on June 29th, Mr. Akbar Lari and other members of the Board of Directors of PAAIA hosted a fundraising reception for Shahinfar at Mr. Lari’s home in New York City. At the event, Mr. Lari expressed his admiration for the way Shahinfar has embraced his heritage and the importance for Iranian Americans to support his campaign regardless of their party affiliation.
Shahinfar conveyed his pride in having the opportunity to represent the Iranian American community. “I am proud to be a first generation Iranian American, and prouder still to have this opportunity to run for Congress,” he said. Shahinfar explained how Iranian Americans have excelled in American society. “We have succeeded as physicians, businesspeople, engineers, scientists, academics, and even lawyers like myself. However, we have rarely chosen to enter into politics and public service, and I believe that this is our last frontier. My campaign is an opportunity for you to take action to expand the profile of Iranian Americans in America.”
Both fundraising events ended with a Question and Answer session. Guests at each of the occasions took advantage of the forums to discuss their views on numerous topics ranging from US policy towards the Middle East to the importance of civic and political participation. When asked about his prospect of winning the Democratic primary on September 9th, Shahinfar said, “This is a wide open campaign. I believe I bring the broadest experience from community involvement, to serving in all three branches of government. It’s time to bring real change and a new generation of leadership down to Washington, D.C.”