By Joseph Chmielewski, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
Washington, DC - Ron Varasteh is the Democratic candidate for Congress from California’s 48th congressional district. Ron, 47, grew up in San Francisco, but now resides in Irvine, CA. After receiving his BS in electrical engineering from California State University - Fullerton, Varasteh went on to get his MS in computer engineering from the same university. A progressive candidate, Varasteh is looking to better the lives of all Americans through his work in public policy. If elected, Varasteh would become the first Iranian American to hold office in the United States House of Representatives.
The Varasteh campaign was kind enough to respond to a number of questions posed by NIAC.
What new voice will you give to your district that has been underrepresented in the past?
I am a scientist and an engineer by education, a small business owner for the last 25+ years, a 30 + years resident of Orange County, and an activist for causes pertaining to improved quality of life for all citizens of our great country.
I believe in the free market system, but not in crony capitalism, which privatizes profits and socializes losses. I believe in a free market system with adequate safeguards for consumers and protection of our environment. I believe in a free market system with a level playing field between capital and labor, one that provides safe working conditions and living wages not subject to threats of “outsourcing.”
In 24 years in the House, my opponent has sponsored and passed only three bills. None of those bills has a direct effect on small business growth. I will write and sponsor legislation that will benefit the constituents of my district. Some examples of the types of bills that I would propose are to reduce restrictions on small businesses that hamper growth. In doing so, these small businesses that are the backbone of our economy will be able to thrive and hire more employees. This will enable overall growth and health of not only my district but to the overall growth across the US.
I would also propose changes that would promote the development of manufacturing in the US and would encourage the return of overseas manufacturing to the US.
Solutions to immigration can be achieved economically and easily by fining the employers that hire illegally. This would not cost taxpayers any money. We do not need to resort to expensive non-solutions of building more fences, holding cells (private prisons) and an increase in armed border patrol agents.
What do you think are the most difficult obstacles you have to overcome in order to run a successful campaign?
Our most difficult obstacle we have to overcome is name recognition. My opponent has been representing about 2/3 of our district for the past quarter of a century. Many of those who don’t like him, know very little about me. So, even though we haven’t been able to outraise this incumbent, we have people power. Armies of activist foot-soldiers in the trenches ready to spread the word about a new kind of candidate that will be part of a wave of candidates promising to change the way Washington operates.
As an Iranian American vying to represent a constituency with a large Iranian-American population, how will you represent their voices?
I believe that the most important subject my fellow Iranian-Americans constituents care about is a possible war with Iran. I am against wars, in general. We must not think and behave like an empire. It is not our job, nor our responsibility to change any other country on the face of this earth through violence. Unless direct harm comes to us from an aggressor, we have no business meddling in any other country’s business by force. So, my philosophy, about Iran as it applies to all other upcoming potential conflicts is that diplomacy must be exercised above all else. War should only be the last resort after all diplomatic efforts has been exhausted.
How can Iranian Americans help to support your campaign? Are there volunteer opportunities?
Absolutely! Our campaign is proud to have volunteers from all cultural backgrounds and all walks of life. We would appreciate any help (financial contributions as well as volunteering activities) my fellows Iranian Americans are willing to offer our campaign. In the volunteering category, we are requesting help in the following departments: walking neighborhoods, making phone calls, helping with mailings, handing out literatures, putting up yard signs, hosting coffees, hosting fundraisers, working election day, and general campaign support. We’re also seeking a donation of office space in a location near or within our district, for the remainder of the campaign. Anyone may contribute or signup to volunteer for our campaign online by going to our website at www.Ron4U.com.
Ron Varasteh is running against long-time Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher. The Varasteh campaign’s congressional bid will culminate in the General Election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. If elected, Varasteh would become the first-ever Iranian American to hold office in the United States House of Representatives. For more information on Ron and his campaign, visit www.Ron4U.com.
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