Meet Anna Kaplan, She Could be the First Iranian American in Congress

January 25, 2016, Washington, D.C. – Iranian American Councilwoman Anna “Monahemi” Kaplan recently announced her plans to run for the 3rd Congressional seat of New York Representative Steve Israel, who recently announced that he will not be seeking re-election.. Should she win the upcoming election, Kaplan would be the first Iranian American to serve in the U.S. Congress. Announcing her candidacy, Kaplan stated, “Congressman Israel has been an extraordinary leader for this district, all of Long Island and our national Democratic Party… I would be proud to follow in his footsteps.”

Kaplan was born in Tabriz, Iran and spent her childhood years in the capital of Tehran. She was thirteen years old when the Iranian revolution erupted in 1979. Kaplan was able to flee the country as part of an international effort to help Jewish children safely leave Iran. After living with a foster family in Chicago during her high school years, Kaplan was reunited with her parents.  The family moved to New York where Kaplan attended the  Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.

Currently, Kaplan serves as a North Hempstead Town Councilwoman, an office she’s held since 2011, when she became the first Iranian American elected to town office in New York State.  She previously served as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Great Neck Public Library District and held a position on the Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals.

“I am running for Congress because that is the position where I believe I can be the most effective advocate for the issues that matter to Long Island and Queens families,” Kaplan wrote in an email. “We are blessed to be living here. What makes our community so wonderful is the fact that it’s so diverse. This is what America is all about. This is the foundation on [which] America was built on, people coming from all over and bringing all their assets and attributes and sharing them with everyone.”

As a Congresswoman, Kaplan intends to focus on issues important to middle class and working families including college affordability, strong advocacy for women’s rights, greater access to educational and job training opportunities in underserved communities, and the provision of housing for homeless veterans.

Kaplan currently lives in the Village of Kensington with her husband Darren, and two daughters. She is fluent in Farsi, Aramaic, and Turkish.

Click here to learn more about Anna Kaplan’s campaign.

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