September, 1, 2011, San Diego, CA -The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) and its connected PAC, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), recently had the opportunity to sit down with Carlsbad City Council member Farrah Douglas and discuss her campaign for California State Assembly. A successful businesswoman with an exceptional record of civic involvement, Douglas is running in the newly formed 76th District of North San Diego County.
Douglas was born in Iran. She put herself through college there, earning a B.A. in English and French literature and worked as a journalist, writer, translator and interpreter. In 1979, Douglas and her American born husband escaped from Iran before the American hostage crisis and immigrated to the United States. After settling in Carlsbad, Farrah Douglas worked as a real estate agent and received a Masters in Philosophy from San Diego State University. Since 1990, Douglas and her husband have been the owners of a small printing business in Carlsbad. The first day their shop opened, the couple made only 50 cents. Since then, the business has grown exponentially to become very successful.
Douglas was elected to the City Council of Carlsbad in 2010 and is the first American of Iranian descent to be elected to public office in San Diego County. U.S. Congressman Brian Bilbray, State Senator Mimi Walters, Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis, the Republican Party of San Diego and the Lincoln Club of San Diego, were among the many community leaders, public officials and organizations that endorsed her 2010 campaign.
A strong believer in public service and civic engagement, Douglas has served on numerous non-profit and community boards. She received the San Diego Business Journal's "Women Who Mean Business" award in 2009. She is the past chair of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad, the Carlsbad Library and Arts Foundation and the Carlsbad High Noon Rotary. In 2006, Douglas was appointed by the Mayor and the City Council to serve on the Carlsbad Planning Commission.
For more information on Farrah Douglas and her candidacy please visit: www.farrahdouglas.com
The following is a transcript of PAAIA's interview with Farrah Douglas about the election and her platform:
PAAIA/IAPAC: Why are you running for State Assembly?
Douglas: I'm running for State Assembly because I realize the enormous impact the state has on our district and how Sacramento is hindering our ability to create jobs and get our economy moving again. As someone who has been a business owner and has served in local government, I know I can make a difference. I plan to be a vocal Assembly Member and work toward putting California's economy back on track.
PAAIA/IAPAC: Why do you believe you can win this Assembly seat?
Douglas: I have a proven track record. In 2010, I was elected to the City Council of Carlsbad with the highest number of votes any candidate has ever received in the history of the city. I am the first naturalized citizen that the city has ever elected to public office. I also have extensive experience in the private sector and a natural talent for brining opposing sides together to solve problems. I understand how the government works and I know the needs of our region. I can represent not only my district but all of San Diego County in Sacramento effectively.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What is the importance of this seat for the City of Carlsbad and the region?
Douglas: Carlsbad is the most affluent city in this new district and has the highest number of registered voters. Most importantly, Carlsbad hosts a national power plant, a regional airport, three large regional shopping centers, three environmentally sensitive lagoons and the largest number of high-tech/bio-med/tech companies in the North County area. I am deeply involved in the effort to build a seawater desalination plant on the shores of Carlsbad before the end of 2012. My vision for the future is to create a bio-tech and green technology hub in the heart of North County and to bring thousands of well-paying engineering jobs to our region.
PAAIA/IAPAC: How will your experience as a City Council member of Carlsbad affect your service in the California State Assembly?
Douglas: My most valuable assets are that I am currently a serving member of the City Council of Carlsbad and my long history of public service in our region. Carlsbad is an exemplary city and is noted for the cooperative and civil manner of its Council members, its fiscal discipline and vision. I've been a part of developing our city for the past 21 years as a business woman, as the executive at the Chamber of Commerce, as the Chair of the Planning Commission and now City Council member. Carlsbad has the highest amount of reserve funds among all of our neighboring cities. We have amicably reached agreements with our union workers to put the city on the road to prosperity for many years to come. I'll bring all this experience with me to Sacramento and work tirelessly toward creating an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation at the Assembly.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are some of the challenges you believe your campaign must overcome to mount a successful election?
Douglas: The most important obstacle to overcome is the fact that I'm an immigrant from Iran. I need the Iranian American community in California and in America to support my candidacy with funds and volunteers. Should I win, this will be one of the highest elected positions that an Iranian American holds in America.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are the fundraising goals of your campaign?
Douglas: It will take approximately $350,000.00 to win this election. The majority of the funds will be spent from October of 2011 through the primary election in June of 2012. It is critical to raise $100,000.00 as soon as possible in order to prove to the Sacramento political establishment that I'm a credible candidate and deter any potential challengers.
Private individuals, business owners, corporations and PACs can contribute to my campaign at: www.farrahdouglas.com or by sending a check to:
Farrah Douglas for State Assembly for 2012
2262 Rutherford Road, Ste. 106
Carlsbad, CA 92008.
The maximum amount an individual can contribute is $3,900.00.
PAAIA/IAPAC: Would you be representing any Iranian American constituents in the 76th District of the State Assembly?
Douglas: Yes, the district includes areas where many Iranian Americans reside such as Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista and Encinitas. However, it is also important to remember that as an Assembly Member my votes will impact the lives of all Californians. I hope my election opens up doors to other Iranian Americans who are interested in public service. It would be an honor to represent our community as one of the highest ranking Iranian American elected officials.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What role do you think Iranian Americans can play in your campaign?
Douglas: Iranian Americans can help in many ways. For instance, I need to raise $100,000.00 within the next two months, so financial contributions are vital. Any public endorsement is also extremely helpful as are interviews with local Iranian American media outlets.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What role can organizations like PAAIA/IAPAC play in assisting your campaign?
Douglas: It is twofold. The first is spreading the word about my candidacy. The second is raising funds early on in the election process. Both are integral in order for me to appear as a viable candidate.
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