Iranian Americans Host Fundraising Events to Kickoff 2006 Election Activities
Washington, DC - With the 2006 midterm elections fast approaching, Iranian Americans are once again demonstrating their growing voice in the American electoral arena. From the east coast to the west coast, Iranian Americans are busy raising funds, organizing events and reaching out at the grassroots level to promote congressional candidates of their own choosing. Recently, IAPAC trustees and friends co-hosted fundraising events for Senator Hillary R. Clinton (D-NY) and Congressman Tom Feeney (R-FL). The events were illustrative of the cooperation and friendship that exists between members of Congress and the Iranian American community.
On Friday June 3rd, Iranian American friends of the Hillary Clinton Senate re-election campaign hosted a fundraising event in honor of Senator Clinton. The event took place at the home of Gita and Behzad Kashani in Los Altos Hills, California.
As the only First Lady ever elected to the United States Senate, Hillary Clinton has proven to be a strong and dedicated advocate for the people of New York. Senator Clinton has worked in a bipartisan way to pass legislation and draw attention to issues that matter to the people of New York State and the entire nation. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Senator Clinton worked hard to secure $21.4 billion in funding to assist clean up and recovery and provide health tracking for first responders and volunteers at Ground Zero. Senator Clinton serves on the Senate Committees for Environment and Public Works; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and is the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senator Clinton began the evening by praising Iranian Americans for being “successful in all walks of life” and for “their contributions to America.” She stressed that while Iranian Americans are an important component of the economic and social fabric of the United States, it is important for them to become more active in the civic and political facets of American life. She also recognized the success of Mr. Ross Mirkarimi, the first American of Iranian descent elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Senator Clinton went on to address the audience on topics specifically relevant to the Iranian American community. She discussed immigration and acknowledged the difficulties Iranian nationals have in obtaining visas to visit family members residing in America. “Our visa policy is not only unfair but it’s not good for America. We’re losing out by keeping out keen minds and ideas, which is having a negative impact on our competitive advantage,” said Senator Clinton. While emphasizing the need for attending to homeland security, Senator Clinton expressed concerns over preempting civil liberties in the name of national security. She indicated that the Patriot Act, set to expire in September 2005, is up for renewal and emphasized that Iranian Americans, as well as all Americans, should express their opinions regarding the Act.
A few weeks later, on June 18, Maryam H. Ghyabi held a fundraising event at her home in Daytona Beach, Florida in honor of Congressman Tom Feeney, whom Ms. Ghyabi considers “not only a great friend and politician, but a man of his words.” Congressman Feeney, a Republican who represents Florida’s 24th district in the heart of Central Florida, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and is now serving his 2nd term. He serves on the Financial Services and Judiciary Committees as well as the Science Committee. As a major proponent against irresponsible government spending, Congressman Feeney co-founded the Washington Waste Watchers, a Congressional working group to combat waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.
At the event, Congressman Feeney expressed his admiration for Iranian culture and history. He spoke about the important voice Iranian Americans have on issues such as education, healthcare, business and civil liberties, which not only affect the Iranian American community, but all Americans.
Congressman Feeney discussed the importance of finding a balance between national security and civil liberties, particularly after the events of 9/11. He stated that when dealing with legislation regarding homeland security, he asks himself this very significant question: “Does the bill enhance American security without unduly burdening civil liberty?” He considers this the most relevant issue when it comes to “domestic tranquility and national defense.”
During the Saturday event, people thanked Congressman Feeney for supporting Ms. Goli Ameri’s Congressional campaign. His office provided valuable advice and personnel to Ms. Ameri’s campaign and greatly assisted in her efforts to become the first Iranian American to win a Congressional primary.
Both fundraising events ended with a Question and Answer session. Guests at each of the occasions took advantage of the forums with Senator Clinton and Congressman Feeney to discuss their views on numerous topics ranging from US policy towards the Middle East, the importance of civic and political participation and civil rights.