Iranian American Candidates Victorious on Election Night

November 5, 2014, Washington, D.C. – The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) congratulates State Representative Cyrus Habib and Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education candidate, Richard Amir Tahvildaran-Jesswein, on their election victories. Habib was elected to the 48th Senate District of Washington State while Tahvildaran-Jesswein was successful in his bid for a seat on the Santa Monica-Malibu Board of Education. Both candidates are among a small, yet growing number of Iranian Americans elected to public office.

Habib brought in 63.8% of the votes, while his opponent, Michelle Darnell, earned 36.2% of the votes. Tahvildaran-Jesswein received 16.6% of the votes, making him the third highest vote-getters out of eight candidates running to fill four seats on the seven-member Board of Education.

Habib was first elected to Washington state’s House of Representatives in 2012 and is the highest ranking Iranian American to serve in elected office.  His campaign for the 48th Senate District was endorsed by a bipartisan list of local, regional, state and federal leaders, including U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. The Seattle Times, the largest daily newspaper in Washington state, called Habib the best candidate to fill the vacant Senate seat. Though a freshman legislator, the Washington Post selected Habib as one of the top 40 political rising stars who are under 40 years old in the country.

Richard Amir Tahvildaran-Jesswein, an educator and community leader, is a tenured college professor and Associate Director of the Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute, who has dedicated his life to creating better educational opportunities for all families. An active member of the Santa Monica community, Tahvildaran-Jesswein serves as the co-chair of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights and is also working with the city of Santa Monica on its Wellness Initiative. Tahvildaran-Jesswein’s campaign gained significant endorsements from public officials, community leaders, and organizations including U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley, California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.   

PAAIA will continue to follow Cyrus Habib and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein’s public service and wishes them much success. 

The campaigns of Cyrus Habib and Richard Amir Tahvildaran-Jesswein were endorsed and supported by the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), the connected PAC of PAAIA. IAPAC supports and promotes the election of candidates for federal, state, and local office, regardless of party affiliation, who are attuned to the needs of the of the Iranian American community. IAPAC also encourage Iranian Americans to actively participate in the American electoral process and supports Iranian American candidates for public office.

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