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Iranian-American Candidate Starts Early in Pursuit of Atlanta Seat


By Grace Nasri, Iran Times


Iranian-American Amir Farokhi is getting an early start in his campaign for a seat on Atlanta's City Council to be voted on in 2009.


Born in Atlanta and raised there by an Iranian father and American mother, Farokhi attended The Galloway High School and then moved on to Duke University, where he was a student government representative.  After earning a degree in political science, Farokhi traveled to Taiwan where he taught for a year at the Taipei American School.  Following his return to the States, Farohki completed his law degree in 2004 at Duke in North Carolina, and then returned to Atlanta where he currently practices law.


Following in his father's footsteps, Farokhi said he has maintained a life-long connection to the Iranian-American community in Atlanta. He provided legal assistance to the Persian Community Center in Atlanta when they sent relief aid to the victims of the Bam earthquake in 2003.


Helping fellow Iranian-Americans is a family tradition, Farokhi said in an interview with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).  The Duke University graduate's father came to the United States in the 1960s to pursue his education and was one of the first Iranians to settle in Atlanta.


Farokhi, who visited family in Kerman, Esfahan and Tehran in 2004, told the Iran Times, "Although my campaign is focused on delivering solutions to take Atlanta from a great city to thriving, global city, I have been touched by the support from the Iranian-Americans from across the country.  Iranian-Americans have been extraordinarily successful in their professional lives and are just now engaging in increased participation in American civic life.  We see this particularly among the second-generation who, having been born and raised in the U.S., understand the power of civic engagement in American life and are getting involved in a myriad of ways.  This is a story that has played over and over throughout American history.  It is a testament to the social and political mobility of America."


The election is not until November 2009, but Farokhi told NIAC he is getting an early start.  "I'm super early," he said, but there were a number of reasons for getting into the race now. Farokhi said he hoped to lay the groundwork for the campaign, including raising money and getting his name out. Farokhi said creating a buzz and building momentum are crucial to running a successful campaign; campaigning for a few months prior to the election was not enough.


He is a running for an at-large seat covering the entire city as opposed to a single ward.


For traditional Atlanta politics, "my candidacy is unique," Farokhi said. Typically in the city, candidates for city council have been either white or African-American. "Atlanta is a very diverse and progressive city; I believe my background and my name would generate some curiosity in people to learn more about me. That said, I'm not na´ve enough to think some people won't like that I come from an Iranian background. But I don't believe that the race or ethnicity of Atlanta's leaders is as important to residents as it is that the city work well."


From a young age, Farokhi's parents, who are educators at Georgia State University and Morris Brown College, exposed their son to all the various ethnic groups in Atlanta. "I have been able to relate to folks all over the city, and that excites me," he said. His father is a longtime political science professor at Atlanta's Morris Brown College, an historically black college.


"I am not a candidate carrying the flag for one issue, but many issues.  But before we can address issues that will make Atlanta an even better place to live, we must first focus on making City Hall accountable and transparent," Farokhi said.


His platform includes transparency in city government, financial accountability, improving city services, increasing public transportation options, protecting neighborhoods and affordable housing, and increasing the city's environmental sustainability-his aim is for Atlanta to have the smallest carbon footprint possible.


"Residents want potholes fixed promptly, sidewalks kept in good repair, safe, walkable streets and a City Hall that is responsive and transparent. Once we get the basics down and regain the trust of residents, we can tackle the long-term task of taking Atlanta from a great city to a remarkable, inspiring city."


Visit Amir Farokhi's web site to learn more about him and his campaign:


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