U.S. Senator Gordon Smith Joins IAPAC’s Annual Washington, D.C. Reception
Washington, D.C. - The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) held its annual Washington, D.C. reception on March 8, 2007. The reception, which was held at the home of IAPAC Trustee Mr. Robert Babayi, brought together Iranian Americans from the DC area to discuss IAPAC's role in enhancing Iranian American participation in the U.S. political process.
The featured guest speaker of the reception was Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR). A long-time friend of the Iranian American community, Smith was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. Since then, he has earned a reputation for independence and bipartisanship. Senate leaders have recognized Smith's ability and have asked him to serve on important committees and in key leadership positions. From 2005 to 2007, he served as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. A recent congressional ranking by National Journal placed Smith at the ideological center of the U.S. Senate.
In his guest speech, Smith spoke about the contributions of Iranian Americans to American society. He stressed their high level of education, hard work, and rich cultural heritage, and said: "I have worked with distinguished Iranian Americans since I entered politics and appreciate the remarkable contributions they have made to the United States. I urge them to play an even greater role in the American political process, and I look forward to their participation in the development of policy decisions in the future." Smith said that he was "...thankful for the many Iranian Americans I know and for their support over the years." He also stated that he was looking forward to working with IAPAC.
Following Smith's speech, there was a question and answer segment in which the senator answered a multitude of questions concerning U.S. policy towards the Middle East. Before leaving the reception, Smith also took pictures and spoke individually to many of the guests.
IAPAC is a registered bipartisan political action committee that contributes to candidates for public office who are attuned to the domestic concerns of the Iranian American community. IAPAC focuses exclusively on domestic policy issues, such as civil liberties and immigration, and encourages Americans of Iranian descent to actively participate in civic affairs.
IAPAC has contributed to 28 candidates, to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
IAPAC has also supported 7 Iranian American candidates for public office, including Goli Ameri, the first Iranian American to win a congressional primary, Ross Mirkarimi, the first Iranian American elected to San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and Jimmy Delshad, the first Iranian American Mayor of Beverly Hills.
Since its inception, IAPAC has leveraged contributions to candidates by working with community non-profit organizations to facilitate briefings on Capitol Hill on civil liberties and immigration issues as they relate to the Iranian American community. IAPAC has also worked with members of the House of Representatives to introduce a resolution declaring the Congress’ condemnation of discrimination against Iranian Americans in any form, and has provided Iranian Americans with direct access to their elected representatives by holding multiple formal and informal events.