By Grace Nasri, Iran Times
Ahsha Safai has officially kicked off his campaign for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in hopes of becoming the city's second Iranian-American elected a supervisor.
On July 20, with over 200 friends and supporters in attendance, Safai formally announced his intentions to run in San Francisco's 11th District. Safai, a community activist and former mayoral aide, is seeking to replace Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, whose term expires in January.
Safai, who was born in Iran in 1973 and moved to the United States at the age of five, said, "My first name, Asha, is actually a blend of my father's name, Ata Safai, and mother's name, Marsha McDonald, Safai said."
In 1978, Safai moved with his mother to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he pursued his education; Safai received his bachelor's degree in African American studies and political science from Northeastern University and his master's degree in urban studies and city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
After graduating from MIT, Safai moved to San Francisco and joined the city's Housing Authority. In 2003, he worked on Gavin Newsom's successful campaign for mayor and later served as the deputy director of the Mayor's Office of Community Development and in the San Francisco Department of Public Works.
Safai, who has experience working in all three levels of government-federal, state and local-believes real change begins at the local level. He views public safety, education, and concerns over matters such as trash and parking as the key concerns affecting San Francisco's 11th District.
"I will no longer allow District 11 to be the forgotten district of San Francisco," Safai said at his campaign kick-off rally. "As supervisor, I will fight for our fair share of resources in combating crime, improving our schools, and cleaning up our parks and streets."
Aside from his goals in San Francisco, Safai told the Iran Times, "One of my goals is to encourage more Iranian-Americans to run for office and actively engage in civil society and the political process. Iranians are natural politicians, and we need to use the positive aspects of our culture to show others we can lead."
Safai has garnered a significant list of endorsements, including Mayor Newsom. If successful in his bid for district supervisor, he will become the second Iranian-American elected to the Board, serving along side District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who was elected in November 2004 and is up for re-election this year. The San Francisco board has 11 supervisors.
About Iran Times: The Iran Times is an independent newspaper with no affiliation with any political party or faction The Iran Times corporation was founded in Washington D.C. in 1970, in accordance with U.S. federal and local regulations: www.iran-times.com
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