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Iranian-Americans on the Ballot this Novemeber

Source: Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)

WASHINGTON  - With the November 8th election fast approaching, PAAIA wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the campaigns of several Iranian Americans who will be on the ballot on Election Day.  As an organization that represents the community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at large, PAAIA encourages the active participation of Iranian Americans in the American civic process and public service.

Fred Ameri
 (, a successful businessman with an exceptional record on civic involvement, Ameri is a candidate for the City Council of Newport Beach, California. A registered Republican, he will be facing Newport Beach Finance Commissioner William O'Neill in the November 2016 election. The seat in question is being vacated by term limited council member Keith Curry. He has been endorsed by a number of community and business leaders throughout the city and county. Ameri is the former Vice Chairman of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (Santa Ana Region) and has served on the Newport Beach Planning Commission and Newport Bay Watershed Executive Committee. 

Mani Farhadi
(, a third generation Iranian American with 28 years of experience in architecture firm, is a candidate for Los Gatos Union School District Board of Trustees.  Farhadi is running as an appointed incumbent of the school board.  Her term is up in 2016 and she is one of three candidates running for two seats on the Los Gatos Union School District board of trustees.  Her campaign has been endorsed by numerous public officials, organizations, and community leaders, including the Vice Mayor of the Los Gatos Town Council, several former and current members of the Board of Trustees, and the Los Gatos Elementary Teachers' Association (LGETA). Prior to being appointed to the school board she served on two Bond Oversight Committees for the Los Gatos Union School District. 

Shiva Farivar 
(, a longtime Irvine resident and community leader, is running for a seat on the Irvine City Council, California. She is one of ten candidates vying for two city council seats.  Her campaign has been endorsed by Councilmember and former Mayor Beth Krom, and former Mayor Sukhee Kang. She has also received endorsements from Women in Leadership, National Women's Political Caucus, Unite Here Local 11, Evolve, UA Local 582, Orange County League of Conservation Voters, and NMFT. Farivar's long history of Community involvement includes serving as an Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Irvine and then as a Community Services Commission for almost eight years, five years of those years as Chair. She also chaired Irvine's Advisory Committee for Children, Youth and Families.

State Senator Cyrus Habib
 (, the highest ranking Iranian American in elected office, is a candidate for Washington State Lieutenant Governor. Habib was the victor in the crowded August primary election and will face Republican Marty McClendon in the general election.  He is considered a strong front-runner in the race.  His campaign has been endorsed by a number of Federal, State, and local elected officials including President Barack Obama.  Habib, who lost his eyesight to a rare form of cancer at the age of eight, is the first American of Iranian heritage to serve in a state legislature. In 2014, he was named one of the "40 Under 40 Political Rising Stars" by the Washington Post.  Habib was also named one of "12 State Legislators to Watch" by Governing Magazine. He recently served on the 2016 Democratic National Convention Platform Committee. 

Sean Panahi
 (, an attorney, is the Democratic nominee for California's 68th State Assembly district. He is an independent candidate running for State Superintendent and has been endorsed by numerous current and former elected officials, Party Committees, and organizations. Elections for the California State Assembly take place in November of 2016. On June 7, 2016, Panahi received the most votes in a crowded field of seven candidates on primary day.  He now faces the Mayor of Irvine, California and Republican Steven S. Choi in the general election. A proponent of public and community service, Panahi serves on the Board of Directors of a Non-Profit organization providing mental health needs and social services to Southern California's elder and under-privileged population.

Marjan Philhour (, an accomplished small-business owner and working mom with two decades of experience in public service, is a candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 1. Philhour is one of ten candidates vying for the district 1 seat and considered as the moderate front-runner in the race.  Her campaign has been endorsed by several current members of the Board of Supervisors, state elected officials, and other local officials, including Betty Yee, California State Controller and London Breed, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Philhour spent four years in the U.S. House of Representatives serving as a legislative aide to Members of Congress. After returning home to California, Philhour served as senior advisor to Governor Gray Davis' chief of staff. Over the past ten years, she has led her own San Francisco-based consulting firm, working with nonprofits and local, state, and federal candidates.

Ahsha Safai
 (, first generation Iranian American, is running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors District 11. He is one of five candidates vying for the district 11 seat and considered as the moderate front-runner in the race. Safai's campaign has been endorsed by numerous federal, state, and local elected officials, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome.  He served as the Deputy Director for Mayor's Office of Community Development and in the San Francisco Department of Public Works. Safai's many accomplishments include spearheading a project to build a community youth center, championing legislation to help immigrant families remain in public housing, and directing over $25 million in federal grants towards low-to moderate-income communities and overall neighborhood revitalization.

Daniel E. Sabzehzar
 (, is a candidate Merced City Council District 5. Sabzehzar is an aspiring physician, a biochemistry and public-health student at the University of California, Merced, a collegiate and international athlete, the owner of a digital and social media agency, and the incoming Vice President of the United Way of Merced County. He will face Merced County deputy district attorney Matthew Serratto in the November election.  His campaign has been endorsed by Communities for a New California, a civil and human rights organization committed to achieving public policy that is socially, economically, and environmentally just for California's families, and various community leaders.

Melody Shekari 
(, a 28-year-old lawyer and first generation Iranian American, is the Democratic nominee for the 3rd U.S. Congressional District of Tennessee.  Winning by a landslide in the Democratic primary, Shekari will face Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) in the general election.  Her campaign has been endorsed byThe Chattanooga Times, stating that "...she has the policy know-how and solutions maturity that our current congressman sorely lacks." After receiving her undergraduate, Masters in Public Administration, and law degrees, Shekari returned home to serve her community. She has held positions in business, government and the non-profit sector. Before running for Congress, she served as a policy fellow for the Mayor of Chattanooga.

Ron Varasteh
 (, a scientist, engineer, and small business owner, is a Democratic candidate for the 45th U.S. Congressional District of California.  Varasteh came in second in California's open primary system and will face incumbent Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA) in the general election.  His campaign has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party (CADEM), Democratic Party of Orange County (DPOC), Orange County Young Democrats (OCYD), and Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).  A 35 year resident of Orange County, Varasteh is a long-time activist for causes pertaining to improved quality of life for all citizens. 

... Payvand News - 11/04/16 ... --

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