By Roshan Alemi, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
Washington, DC - Cyrus Habib, running as the official nominee of the Democratic Party for Washington’s 48th district, successfully advanced in the Washington State Primaries this past Tuesday by a ten point margin. A three time cancer survivor who went blind at the age of eight, Habib has been an inspiration for many Iranian Americans as he now prepares to make history.
“Once elected in November, I will be the first Iranian-American elected to state office, which will be both a tremendous honor for me personally and an important step forward for the Iranian-American community,” Cyrus told NIAC. “I encourage Iranian-Americans around the country to consider pursuing public life, and would be glad to share my experiences and support with them.”
Habib has been endorsed by a number of elected officials, including Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). His campaign focuses in large part on the importance of education; particularly Habib has spoken on ensuring that higher education stays affordable and accessible. In an interview with NIAC in April he discussed the importance of Iranian Americans participating in civic life in order to make change in the community, be a role model, and to send a positive message about Iranian American identity. He will now face Republican Hank Myers in the General Election this November.
Habib was not the only Iranian American on the primary ballot in Washington state. Sahar Fathi ran for a seat in Washington’s 36th district in Seattle. Though she managed to garner 12.01% of the votes in a crowded field featuring six challengers, she was unable to secure a top-two finish necessary to advance to the general election. In a recent interview, Fathi emphasized the importance of political engagement for Iranian Americans. “The Middle Eastern community since 9-11 has been poorly represented by a very small extremist group of people and I think that we have so much to offer,” she said. “Now is the time to get involved.”
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