Washington, DC — The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), PAAIA’s affiliated PAC, is proud to announce its endorsement of Alex Mohajer for California State Senate’s 37th District!
An award-winning political journalist and seasoned civil servant, Alex Mohajer is poised to make history in the California State Senate. Rooted in his Iranian American identity, his journey reflects the values instilled by his working-class single mother who moved to Irvine to give her family greater opportunities. Since graduating from the University of California, Berkeley and Chapman University School of Law, Mohajer has dedicated the past decade to public service.
During his career in law, he has been at the forefront of investigating allegations of employment discrimination, workplace harassment, and constitutional due process issues for the County of Los Angeles. However, Mohajer’s commitment to justice extends beyond the courtroom as he has also served as the first millennial and first Iranian American President of the Stonewall Democrats, a prominent LGBTQ+ political advocacy organization.
In 2020, Mohajer’s impactful work earned him a Truman Award from the Democratic Party for his leadership in the National Vote-at-Home Initiative. This multimedia project, which registered over 30,000 voters across 16 swing states, showcased Mohajer’s ability to mobilize communities and effect real change. At Stonewall, he helped grow the budget by more than 80%, expanded membership by over 30%, and ushered in the most diverse board in their 48-year history.
Throughout his work, Mohajer has remained connected to his Iranian American identity. In 2018, he won the Excellence in Journalism Award for Excellence in Feature Writing from the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists, for his writing about the 1979 Iranian Women’s Uprising. He is also a strong supporter of the #WomanLifeFreedom movement and hopes to encourage more Iranian Americans to participate in the democratic process here in the United States. If elected to the California State Senate, Mohajer will make history as the only Iranian American in the state legislature, the first openly gay legislator elected from Orange County, and one of the first openly gay Iranians elected globally.
PAAIA had the opportunity to speak with Alex Mohajer about his campaign. Read the interview below:
What inspired you to run for public office?
In September of 2022, when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was killed in Iran, I witnessed an outpouring of grief and newfound political activism in the Iranian community here in Southern California, and specifically Orange County. I realized that the California state legislature has no Iranians in it, in a state with the largest diaspora of Iranians outside of Iran, and at a time when the Iranian community is deeply activated and without a fixed political ideology or any concerted effort to enfranchise our community into the political process.
At the same time, I have been an LGBTQ+ civic leader for the past several years, at a time when hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been passed across the United States, including right here in Orange County, where the OC Board of Supervisors recently voted to ban the Pride flag.
I am inspired to run because I know that right now is the time for a new generation of diverse, intersectional, and progressive leaders to take the mantle of elected office.
What differentiates you from your opponents?
I am the first openly gay person to run for a legislative position in Orange County. I am considerably younger than the average of California state legislature (by decades) and will be the only Iranian in the California state legislature. I will also be the first openly gay Iranian man elected anywhere in the world.
I am also the only candidate in my race to accept a pledge to take no money from the fossil fuels industry or from corporate PACs. We think that Irvine, specifically, which is a city of climate voters, will take well to our clean campaign.
What are the most critical issues facing your district today?
Healthcare: Expanding healthcare access and mental health care access to all Californians, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation and services for elderly and differently abled Californians. I plan to support bills that provide universal healthcare coverage and expand Medicare coverage.
Climate Change: Bold climate change action that includes divestment from fossil fuels investments, expanding tax credits for the purchase of Electric Vehicles, fast tracking the electrification of public schools and buildings, creating incentives for a transition from gas to electric appliances. We need to be doing more to build out the clean energy infrastructure, with charging ports and stations in every neighborhood in the district and the state, and solar panels to fuel the new electric economy. Finally, we need to be centering a just transition for the labor workforce from fossil fuels to clean energy jobs, to ensure that we bring good, union jobs to California and that no worker is left behind.
Working Class Families: Policies that support working class families, like strengthening the ability for workers to unionize, expanding Paid Family Leave, increasing the minimum wage, strengthening affordable housing laws, and investing in public school education.
What role do you think Iranian Americans can play in your campaign and what do you expect from the community?
We have a large population of Iranian Americans in this district who have never been enfranchised in a meaningful way by either political party and do not have a fixed political ideology. The community is activated right now, and for the past 9 months hundreds of Iranians based here in Irvine have been protesting every Sunday on the corner of Barranca and Culver to bring visibility to the ongoing #WomanLifeFreedom movement in Iran.
I plan to make the case with Iranians that the movement for the liberation of oppressed and marginalized communities is intersectional and nonpartisan, meaning that if you care about the liberation of our Iranian people, then you must also care about the assault on civil liberties happening here in the United States, and to bring them into the political process in order to build long-term people power here in this district. I hope to make the Iranian community here proud and take their fight for liberation to Sacramento, and hope that they will not only vote for me but contribute to my grassroots campaign.
IAPAC is the registered bipartisan connected political action committee of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA). IAPAC supports and encourages Iranian Americans to actively participate in the U.S. democratic process and run for public office. Learn more at iranianamericanpac.org.