Meet Shahram Hadian – Candidate for Washington State House of Representatives

By PAAIA Government Affairs Office

July 13, 2010, Washington D.C. – PAAIA and its connected PAC, the Iranian American Political Action Committee, recently had the opportunity to speak with Shahram Hadian (R) and discuss his campaign for Washington State House of Representatives in the 44th District, Position 1. The Washington House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the Washington State Legislature and is composed of 98 Representatives from 49 districts, each of which elects two members. If successful, Hadian would be the first Iranian American elected to the Washington State Legislature.

Hadian was born in Iran, and moved to the US at the age of seven. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest region for the past 28 years. He graduated from Puget Sound Christian College with a B.A. in Biblical studies, and has served his local community as a pastor for the last 8 years.
He also graduated from the Washington Law Enforcement Academy and served as a Police Officer for the City of Redmond. Hadian’s passion for education has grown through his personal work as a teacher both in a school setting and as a tennis professional, and through his wife’s experience as a local second grade teacher.

Hadian considers himself a strong conservative leader and an independent thinker. His campaign’s top priorities include: job creation, supporting small businesses, prioritizing education, smaller government, creating safer communities, and increasing civic involvement.

Hadian’s campaign has been gaining momentum with recent endorsements from the Snohomish County Republican Party, Washington State Farm Bureau Political Action Committee, as well as a number of county and state elected officials.

Hadian will face incumbent Hans Dunshee (D) and Bob McCaughan (R) in the August 17, 2010 primary. The two candidates who garner the highest total number of votes advance to the general election in November.
Click here for more information on Shahram Hadian’s campaign.

The following is a transcript of the PAAIA/IAPAC interview with Mr. Hadian:

Q: Why are you running for public office?

A: I am running for public office because I believe that we are living in a pivotal time in the history of our State and Nation. I’m deeply concerned with our government’s expanding powers, and the threat that this expansion poses to our constitutionally protected freedoms. I’m also concerned about the out of control spending, debt, and growing government entitlements that are putting the next generation’s future at risk. My concerns have compelled me to run for the House of Representatives in Washington State. I have the opportunity to bring real life experience, common sense, integrity, accountability, and strong leadership to Olympia (our State capitol) next year. 

Q: How will your experience as a police officer affect your service in the State House?

A: My experience and training as a Police Officer has given me a great understanding and appreciation for the law, which will help me as a State Legislator in enacting policies and laws. Having been on the enforcement side of the law, I have seen examples where certain laws are not practical or are not being properly enforced. This experience will help me in enacting laws and policies that will be able to be the most effective. Also, public safety is a paramount duty of our State government- a duty which I believe is being neglected by our current majority party in Washington State. My experience as a Police Officer will help me to prioritize public safety and make sure that adequate funding and polices are in place in Washington State in order to protect our citizens and our police officers.

Q: What are some of the challenges you believe your campaign must overcome to mount a successful election?

A: We will be vastly outspent by our incumbent opponent because of one sided union support and special interest groups. My opponent also has stronger name I.D. in the district since he is the 16 year incumbent, however, this year that may end up being a negative as there is an anti-incumbency mood amongst the voters. It is also possible that my opponent will try to scare people because of my Iranian background. 

Our solution: We are running a grassroots campaign. I believe that we will need to have over 1500 individual donations to win this campaign. Our campaign has also been very preemptive with my story and background so that the voters will know the truth of who I am, where I come from and what I stand for. It is my story and I have nothing to hide. I am proud of my Iranian American background and I believe that the voters of Washington State will embrace a man who has a strong cultural understanding and offers a fresh new multi-cultural face to public office.

Q: How will you communicate your ideas to the public? 

A: My campaign has a multi-pronged approach of communicating my priorities and ideas to the public, including:
•    A high quality website that is professional, easy to navigate, and clearly outlines my priorities and story, including video and photo links (www.hadian2010.com)
•    Doorbelling:  Our team will knock on 18,000+ doors in our district by the election in November. Our team talks to individual voters at the door and hands out a “doorbelling brochure” at each home- which communicates my story, my priorities and contact information for the Hadian 2010 campaign.
•    Public forums, parades and festivals:  I participate in any opportunities to speak or debate in our district. I have spoken at multiple rallies and candidate forums. Our team has also participated in several local festivals, parades and community events and will continue to do so leading up to the November elections.
•    “Meet and Greets”:  We have several in-home “neighborhood coffees” or “meet and greets” each month in our district, where different individuals host a coffee hour and invite friends, family and neighbors to come and meet me, ask questions, and hear more about my story and my priorities.
•    TV & Mail:  Prior to the November election, we will air multiple TV ads and possibly send out direct mail postcards within the district.
•    Phone Banking:  We will be calling voters prior to the elections.

Q: What are the fundraising goals of your campaign?  

A: Our goal is to raise $40-$50,000 within the 44th Legislative District of Washington State, and a total of $150-$180,000 for the election cycle (including in-district, out of district, PAC’s, organizations, lobbyists and any national sources). To date we have raised $17,000. All of our donations have come from over 250 individual donors mostly within our district. This has truly been a grassroots campaign. We are expecting much more financial support after the primary election on August 17, 2010. 

Q: What differentiates you from your opponent/s?

A: My opponent, Rep. Hans Dunshee (Democrat), is a 16-year career politican that has repeatedly voted against small business interest, voted for more taxes and government spending and has defied the will of the people over and over again. In Washington State the people voted for Initiative-960 THREE different times. This initiative required the Legislature to have a 2/3 majority of votes before passing any tax increases. This past session, Rep. Dunshee voted to repeal I-960 (The Tax Payer Protection Act), thereby defying the will of the majority of people in Washington State. Within 12 hours of I-960 being overturned, my opponent was the first legislator to propose a tax increase on the House Floor. Rep. Dunshee is also the prime sponsor of a bill (aptly called “Hans’ Bonds”) that will jeapordize the credit rating of our State and increase our State debt limit by over 500 million dollars.   

The people of our district are tired of having a legislator that does not represent their interests. Overall, people are ready and hungry for change. I do not come as a “career politician” but as a citizen legislator who knows what it is like to work in the private sector, live within my means, and who is in touch with the average citizen. My opponent has lived on a government paycheck for 16 years- and it is time for change, new ideas and new leadership in our State’s capital.

Q: What particular skills or experiences will you bring to the State House?

A: I believe that I offer a unique personality for public office. I have a demonstrated ability to unite people, to build strong relationships and partnerships with different community and governmental groups, to educate and communicate with the public about current issues in a relevant manner and a proven record for hard work and perseverance. I am an independent thinker who makes decisions by both listening to the will of the people and relying on my core strong family, faith and community values.  

Q: What are the most critical issues facing the 44th District in Washington State?

•    Out of control spending, a growing debt at a County and State level and a 9.2 % unemployment rate
•    Public Safety being under funded or neglected. We have one of the worst ratios of law enforcement to citizens in the State.
•    Small business climate- stifling regulations and increased taxes for small business owners which is driving businesses OUT of business and OUT of Washington State at alarming rates
•    Education is not fully funded and we have a 33% drop out rate for high school. Parents are concerned about the lack of education choices and teachers are over worked and under paid

Q: How does your campaign plan on addressing some of those issues?

A: We have to return to a “Priorities of Government” approach. This approach identifies the paramount duty of the State as Public Safety, Education and taking care of the most vulnerable of our State. All other peripheral programs should be on the table for budget cuts in order to balance the 4-5 Billion Dollar deficits that we will face next year. We must fully fund police officers, teachers and those agencies that take care of the most vulnerable. 
The State Auditor had identified 3.5 Billion dollars of waste in our State agencies. These recommendations were ignored last year as there was no will to cut spending. I will work with other legislators to implement these recommendations in order to reduce or eliminate government waste.

Our State has the 43 worst business climate in the country. We have the 2nd highest State sales tax and are only one of three states that have a government monopoly on Worker’s Compensation insurance. Our State has the 2nd highest unemployment insurance taxes for employers and we have a regressive Business and Occupation tax that is applied to the gross sales of businesses regardless of whether the business made a profit or not. On top of all this, the majority party is proposing a State income tax on those who make over $200,000 a year. This tax would primarily affect small and medium business owners. All of these factors are suffocating and killing businesses in Washington State and are driving them to leave our State for neighboring States like Idaho, South Carolina (ex. a recent Boeing Contract worth 5000 jobs was lost), and Virginia.
We have to cut taxes on businesses so that they can thrive, create jobs and be the economic engines of our State. We have to privatize Worker’s Compensation in order to create competition, lower costs and reduce fraudulent claims. We need to repeal our regressive Business and Occupation tax and replace it with a tax on the net profits of a business (they make a profit, they pay taxes. No profit, no B&O taxes). We need to lower unemployment taxes for businesses and open the door for financing so that businesses can take smart risks and expand (creating thousands of jobs). Finally, we have to communicate to the business environment that our State wants you to stay and we will do whatever we can to make that happen.  

Q: How familiar are you with the current situation–demographic, economic, and social–of the Iranian-American community?

A: We have a good sized Iranian American community in Washington State. There are about 16,000 Iranian Americans that live near me. The Iranian Americans are a very connected group socially, and I have participated in some of the local events. Economically, the majority of Iranian Americans in our State live in a more affluent area to the east of Seattle (in the Bellevue/Eastside area). Many of the Iranian Americans that I know are small business owners or work in the private sector, and have an incredibly high work ethic. We have several Iranian festivals in Seattle, where Persian culture is promoted and celebrated.

Q: What role do you think Iranian Americans can play in your campaign and what do you expect from the community? 

A: I welcome support of any kind from the Iranian American community. Local Iranian Americans in Washington State can get involved in my campaign by donating online and volunteering their time (making phone calls, doorbelling, helping with fundraising, hosting events, etc.). Washington State law allows each individual or business to give up to $1600 to a campaign per election cycle. After the primary election on August 17, only $800 per individual/business can be given. We encourage those interested in donating generously to the campaign to donate early, before August 17, to allow for greater contribution limits. For Iranian Americans living across the country, I would appreciate:
•    Financial support to “Friends of Shahram Hadian” Donations can be given online or by check here.
•    Help in spreading the word about the Hadian 2010 campaign (forwarding my website link www.hadian2010.com and my email newsletters)
•    Promoting my Facebook page, emailing others, etc. My Facebook page can be found here.

Q: What role can organizations like PAAIA/IAPAC play in assisting your campaign?

A: I would be very grateful for any assistance from Iranian American PACs and organizations in my campaign. I am proud to have the opportunity to represent Iranian Americans in public office and would be honored to receive the endorsement of your organization. Most of all, I hope that these organizations can provide nationwide exposure for my campaign by forwarding information to Iranian Americans across the country. Any financial support from the PACs would be greatly appreciated, as well as financial support that would come from individuals who hear about my candidacy from these groups. 

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