March 28, 2012, Washington, D.C. - The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Nader Baroukh to discuss his candidacy for a second term on the Falls Church City Council.
The City of Falls Church is governed by a seven member city council, each elected at large for four year, staggered terms. The Mayor is elected by the vote of the members of the council.
First elected to the City Council in 2008, Baroukh has served as the Mayor of Falls Church since 2010. He serves on the Council's School Board/Council Liaison Group, the Economic Development Committee, and was the liaison to the Watershed Advisory Committee. Baroukh also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Council of Government and has served on the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (alternate).
Baroukh, who speaks Farsi fluently, immigrated to the United States from Iran as a child with his family and grew up in Los Angeles, California. He received his B.A. in Psychology and Legal Studies from Chapman University in Orange, California. Baroukh earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia, School of Law.
Baroukh's legal career has been focused on public service. He presently serves as a senior attorney with management responsibilities at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he is responsible for immigration and national security issues.
In his bid to remain as the Mayor of Falls Church, Baroukh faces six other candidates, including fellow Councilman Lawrence Webb, Planning Commissioner John Lawrence, and civic activist Phil Duncan, in the non-partisan May 1st election. The three highest vote-getters will be elected to serve in the next City Council of Falls Church.
For more information on Nader Baroukh's campaign, please visit: www.naderbaroukh.com
The following is a transcript of the interview with the Honorable Nader Baroukh:
PAAIA: What made you run for City Council of Falls Church, VA in 2008?
Baroukh: I decided to run for City Council in 2008 because I believe government works best when it welcomes new ideas and varied points of view. Serving on various civic organizations and the City's taskforces, I worked diligently to press upon the Council the need to create smart and effective redevelopment of our commercial area. Through these efforts, I realized that a majority of the Council at that time had lost their way.
There were serious threats to maintaining what made Falls Church a unique and great place to live. I did not believe that the City was headed in the right direction in its development, fiscal, school, and management policies and wanted to be part of the change.
PAAIA: What are some of the lessons that you learned from your first campaign that you will incorporate in this election?
Baroukh: One of the greatest lessons that I have learned is the need to have a strong campaign organization. Having a structure to organize all the volunteers is critical.
Additionally, I have learned the importance of fundraising. During my first campaign, we had very modest fundraising goals and this made getting the message out difficult.
PAAIA: What are some of the challenges you believe your campaign committee must overcome to mount a successful reelection campaign?
Baroukh: I think the community is generally happy with where the City of Falls Church is headed now. The challenge will be to reach voters and get them excited about what is happening in the City and get them to the polls.
PAAIA: How will you communicate your ideas to the public?
PAAIA: What are the fundraising goals of your committee?
Baroukh: The campaign goal is to raise $12,000-$15,000.
PAAIA: What differentiates you from your opponents?
Proven leadership and a track record that has resulted in the City of Falls Church stabilizing its financial affairs and bringing financial responsibility back to the City Council.
PAAIA: How does your campaign plan on addressing some of those issues?
Baroukh: The goal of the campaign is to reach as many voters as possible directly through canvassing. The campaign will also utilize direct mail and newspaper ads.
PAAIA: How much contact have you had with Iranian Americans?
Baroukh: I have had contact with the Iranian American community through social and professional networks. I have also encouraged Iranian Americans to enter public service by speaking to professional organizations and at universities. I have also been interviewed by the Washington Post and the Department of State regarding being an Iranian American holding public office.
PAAIA: What role do you think Iranian Americans can play in your campaign and what do you expect from the community?
Baroukh: I hope that my re-election campaign will encourage other Iranian Americans to enter public service and taken an active part in their community. The Falls Church City Council election is May 1, 2012 and is only a short time away and much is needed to be done. I hope that the Iranian American community will support me.
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