Two Iranian Americans Make Historic Run for Chicago’s City Council

Learn about the Bambouyani and Buenrostro Campaigns for Alderman

By PAAIA Staff

January 27, 2011, Chicago, IL – Mahmoud Bambouyani and Bita Buenrostro are two prominent Iranian Americans who are campaigning in the 38th and 43rd wards, respectively, for the honor of representing their local district in Chicago’s city council as alderman. Chicago is divided into fifty legislative wards. Each ward is represented by an alderman who is elected by their constituency to serve a four year term. In addition to representing the interests of their ward’s residents, the fifty elected aldermen comprise the Chicago City Council, which serves as the legislative branch of government of the City of Chicago. The election, which will be held on February 22nd, marks the first time that two Iranian Americans have run for public office in the City of Chicago.
“I wake up every morning looking ahead to the day and asking: how can I serve more,” Mahmoud said in a recent conversation. As a sensei, community activist, and a small business owner of 35 years, Mahmoud believes that he has a calling to work for his community and to be a leader who will take community issues to the next level. “The next level can be attained if we start with each person, then each family, and then each neighborhood,” Mahmoud explains. “As the alderman of the 38th ward, I can continue to serve the community by having more resources and great individuals working together to make this city even better.”
Bita echoes Mahmoud’s sentiments. As a successful businesswoman and community leader, she believes that being an elected official is not only about communicating her ideas but also about hearing and responding to concerns voiced by constituents. “I listen when people speak with me, and I do strongly consider their concerns and make it part of my decision-making process,” Bita said. “As an alderman, I will continue this level of communication–keeping in touch with the ward’s residents and enhancing the methods of communication and service to my neighbors.” As the manager of a successful and profitable local small business for the last 14+ years, Bita understands the importance of operating within a budget, managing people, clearly stating and setting expectations, prioritizing tasks, and handling the general public; skills that she is proud to bring to the city council.
Although Mahmoud and Bita share the same ambition – to serve their community – their strong Iranian heritage combined with their relentless pursuit of the “American Dream” drives their dedication to community service and involvement.
“My experience as an immigrant makes me sensitive to the needs and challenges faced by our culturally diverse community,” Mahmoud said. “I want to build bridges of opportunity and involvement for the various ethnic and religious groups in the community. I will not only be a strong advocate and champion for my own Iranian heritage, but also for the various cultures in the city. We are all Chicagoans and we can spend more time respecting our sense of commonality than looking at our differences.”
Bita also uses her heritage as motivation in pursuing her goals and giving back to her community. “I am a regular person but I also represent the American Dream,” Bita explains. “I am a successful businesswoman who brings her Persian philosophy and ideals with her to work every day. These values have helped make my business a success and given me inspiration in times of stress. For example, after a stressful day at work, I come home and open the Book of Hafez for support and inspiration.”
Economic development, jobs, and public safety are just a few issues that Mahmoud and Bita look forward to tackling while in office. Mahmoud plans to utilize community involvement and shared resources to improve education for students and foster effective and enriching classrooms.  Bita is campaigning for more accountability and transparency in city government. She believes that ethical and transparent leadership is the key to an efficient local government. She pledges to always be open and available to the residents of her ward.
PAAIA looks forward to Bita and Mahmoud’s successful campaigns. For more information about these candidates and their platform, please follow these links:
Mahmoud Bambouyani: www.38ward.com
Bita Buenrostro: www.bitabfor43.com 

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