Northwest Asian Weekly
The coming election marks a great year in Washington for API candidates, who are not only diverse in their backgrounds, but also in their points of view. The richness of their experiences not only helps convey the vast possibilities available for APIs in America, but also ensures that the various needs and backgrounds in the local Asian community will be represented in the years to come. The following are a list of API candidates who will appear on the ballot for the upcoming elections:
Charles Allen is a Democratic candidate seeking election to the U.S. House representing the 7th district. His mother immigrated to the United States from Korea, and his father is the longest employed person at Skil Power Tools, now owned by Borch. Allen attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree in Management. Allen served in the Air Force for four years. He worked at Eli Lilly and Company following his time in the Air Force. He currently works as a product manager at Amazon.com. Allen ran for U.S. Senator in 2010, when Democratic Senator Patty Murray won re-election to serve a fourth term. Prominent issues in Allen’s current campaign include education, immigration, healthcare, gay marriage and civil rights, and environmental protection issues.
Sahar Farthi is a Democratic candidate running for State Representative of the 36th district. Farthi is the daughter of immigrants who fled the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and came to the United States in search of a better life. She is a recent graduate of the University of Washington Law School and she has a Masters in International Studies. Fathi served as a legal clerk for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, a former extern for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, and a legal intern at the Attorney General’s Office of Washington. She was also the legislative aide to Councilmember Mike O’Brien. Farthi lists education, revenue, healthcare, jobs, and women’s rights as some of her main concerns.
Shahram Hadian is a Republican candidate for Governor of Washington. Hadian was born in Iran. His family fled Iran just before the Iranian Revolution and lived in the United States until 1982, when his family moved to Canada. Hadian waited more than eight years to legally acquire a green card to return to the United States. He then waited another eight years to become a U.S. citizen. When Hadian, a former Muslim, converted to Christianity, he faced persecution and disapproval from his family. Hadian enrolled in Bible College and has served as a Christian pastor for the last 10 years. He is also the founder of the TIL Project, speaking on issues such as the threat of radical Islam in America, the importance of civic engagement, national security, and more.
Cyrus Habib, is the Democratic candidate for State Representative in Washington’s 48th district. Habib is an Iranian American lawyer who lost his eyesight at a young age due to a rare form of childhood cancer. Habib was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. He also attended Yale Law School. He currently works at the law firm of Perkins Coie, where he assists startup technology firms with early-stage legal needs. Habib is also a disability advocate who has testified before the U.S. Congress on the importance of making currency accessible to blind and low-vision Americans. A longtime advocate and supporter of public services, his campaign seeks to close the education gap through providing more opportunities for higher education and investing in K-12 programs, creating job opportunities that include providing a living wage, healthcare benefits and providing job trainings, and protecting the environment through investing in sustainable solutions.
Bob Hasegawa is a Democratic candidate running for State Senate in the 11th district. Hasegawa was an active member of the local trucking union Teamsters Union, before being elected to a leadership position and serving three consecutive terms. Hasegawa, a Japanese American, serves on the boards of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the Washington State Labor Council. He has been involved with many social justice organizations, working to build bridges and relationships between organizations, particularly those serving the labor, environmental, religious, and API communities. His campaign seeks to give a voice to working families, small enterprises, and disenfranchised communities.
Senator Steve Hobbs is running for U.S. House representing Washington’s 1st district as a Democrat. Hobbs was first elected to the Washington State Senate’s 44th district seat in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. He is a member of the Washington Army National Guard and served in Kosovo and Iraq. Hobbs earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Affairs. Among his campaign’s focuses is the desire to create jobs for families. He also wants to invest in American infrastructure, businesses, and generating opportunities.
Patrick Oishi will defend his position as King County Superior Court Judge in the upcoming elections. Oishi was born and raised in Maui, before he moved to Washington. He obtained a degree in Secondary Education from Seattle University and went on to obtain his law degree from Seattle University School of Law. Oishi was a former Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner whose duties were focused on adult felony criminal cases. He was appointed to the King County Superior Court by Governor Chris Gregoire, succeeding Judge Michael Fox in Department 24.
Darshan Rauniyar is a Democratic candidate running for a 1st district seat in the U.S. House of Representative. Rauniyar was born and raised in Nepal and came to America in 1988, where he graduated with a master’s in Business Administration. He began working as an engineer, eventually starting his own company, fueled by the desire to move technology from large chain stores to small mom-and-pop stores. His campaign seeks to reform the current educational, economic, and environmental landscape, and address issues of equality, foreign policy, healthcare, immigration, and rising taxes.
Cindy Ryu is a Democrat currently running for re-election to the House of Representatives for position 1 in the 32nd legislative position. Ryu arrived as an immigrant to Sea-Tac Airport more than 40 years ago from South Korea. She became a successful business owner, also serving as former mayor of Shoreline. During her first year in the state legislature, Ryu introduced and ensured passage of four consumer-protection, local governance, and small business friendly bills. Her campaign is focused on improving education by investing more funds into it, creating economic opportunities and jobs, and addressing environmental and safety concerns.
Sarah Savoy-Wright is running to represent the 11th District. She came from a poor fishing community in the Philippines. When she came to the U.S., she started out working at McDonalds to now owning her own small business. Her key issues are to protect the economy, education, and natural resources.
Sharon Tomiko Santos is a Democratic member of the House of Representative 37th district, position 1. She is running unopposed in the open primary in August. Santos was a former advisor for the Washington State Democrats, and served on the Rules Committee for the Democratic National Committee in 2004. Santos has experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, and retail banking. She has also been active in various committees in recent years dealing with housing, state finances, and education.
Kshama Sawant is a Socialist Alternative candidate running for the House of Representative’s 43rd District, position 1. Sawant was born and raised in Mumbai, India. After earning a degree in computer engineering, she worked as a software engineer in India, before continuing her career in the United States. She completed her graduate and doctoral studies in economics. An active member of the Federation of Teachers Local 1789 and an activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, her campaign aims to represent an independent voice in defense of rights for women, workers, and the LGBT community.
Hong Tran is a Democratic candidate for the King County Superior Court Judge for Department 29. Tran immigrated with her family to the United States in 1995 after Vietnam fell to Communist forces. Hong served as a civil legal aid attorney for 16 years, specializing in housing, family law, public benefits, unemployment, and consumer law issues. She also served as a criminal defense attorney for four years and acted as a volunteer attorney in asylum cases. In 2006, she ran opposite Maria Cantwell, for U.S. Senate receiving more than 5 percent of the votes, marking her as the first Vietnamese American to run for Senate.
Bobby Virk is a Democratic candidate for District 11 of the House of Representatives. Virk, an Indian American, works as a dentist. Virk is the son of a retired and decorated Indian Army officer. He immigrated to America with $400 in his pocket and hoped to acquire a higher education. Virk later practiced general dentistry for six years and completed his study at an Orthodontic Residency at Boston University. Key goals in Virk’s campaign includes reinvesting and reducing cuts to education, stimulating the growth of small businesses, protecting environmental resources, and supporting the Health Care Reform bill.
Yoshie Wong, a Democrat, is challenging Sen. Mike Carrell to represent the 28th district in the Washington Legislature. Wong, a marriage and family counselor, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in Counseling for Youth and Families.Her campaign goals for education include obtaining more funding for schools, reducing class sizes, providing more vocational training and higher education opportunities, and stimulating the economy through investing in the community and creating jobs. (end)
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