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Iranian American Seeks Congressional Seat in New York



Friday, April 4, 2008

Iranian American Seeks Congressional Seat in New York

Washington, D.C. - “I’m running for Congress to Renew America’s Promise to our children and our seniors, to our taxpayers and our working families, to our soldiers serving abroad and those veterans here at home.” These were the words of Darius Shahinfar, a first generation American of Iranian descent, who on March 9th kicked off his campaign in front of two hundred supporters for New York’s 21st Congressional District seat being vacated by Representative Mike McNulty (D-NY).

Shahinfar grew up in Utica, New York and graduated from Bates College in 1988 with a BA in American History and a concentration in Soviet Studies. In 1994, he returned to Upstate New York to attend Albany Law School. Shahinfar served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Law Review and graduated Cum Laude in 1997. He was subsequently admitted to both the New York and Massachusetts Bar.

Shahinfar believes that he is a fresh face who will bring a depth of experience and a wealth of new ideas to Washington, D.C. “Darius has both private and public sector experience. He has worked at all levels of government – federal, state, and local – and in all branches – executive, legislator, and judicial,” explains Andrew White, Chair of Shahinfar’s Campaign Committee.

Shahinfar was selected as a New York State Senate Fellow in 1997 and was placed in the office of State Senator Mary Lou Rath and the local government committee. In 2001, after working as a litigator for a law firm in Albany, Shahinfar took a position in the New York State Appellate Division as an Assistant Court Attorney. Upon the expiration of his clerkship term, he joined the Albany County Attorney’s office under the County Attorney and eventually served as Deputy County Attorney. In 2006, Shahinfar joined the Congressional Campaign of Kirsten Gillibrand and after her victory went to work for her as her Regional Representative.

On his website, Shahinfar states that he is running for Congress to fight for his neighbors, our families and our future. “I’m running to create 21st century jobs for the 21st District,” says Shahinfar. “America’s Promise is that America must work for working Americans. We must renew the promise that if you work hard and do the right thing, that you can get ahead in life. Most importantly, we must Renew America’s Promise that tomorrow will be better than today.”

As a proud first generation Iranian American, Shahinfar knows first-hand what America means to people around our globe. “For centuries, America stood as a beacon of freedom and liberty. We were viewed as the nation of opportunity and of hope for a better, brighter tomorrow,” explains Shahinfar. “I believe in an America that is able to both defend our security and our Constitution at the same time. An America that is safe and strong at home and respected abroad.”

Shahinfar lives in Albany with his wife, Noelle, and 18-month-old son, Jackson. He is one of five announced candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to represent New York’s 21st Congressional District. The Democratic Primary will be held on Tuesday, September 9th. The winner will face the Republican nominee in the November election. The 21st Congressional District of New York includes most of the Albany metro area and all of Albany County. While the outer counties in the district lean modestly Republican, the Democratic vote in Albany makes this a safe Democratic district.

In his announcement speech on March 9th, Shahinfar drew an analogy between the historic Democratic Presidential primary and his campaign for New York’s 21st Congressional District. “Right now – on the presidential level – our Democratic Party is choosing between a candidate with experience working on behalf of New Yorkers and a fresh face with a different name. With me in this race, you get it all.” If elected, Shahinfar will also make history by becoming the first American of Iranian descent to serve in the U.S. Congress.