Today in Los Angeles there were Special Elections to fill two seats in the State Assembly. Since I didn’t know any of the four candidates’ names on the ballots, and found only one candidate statement in the sample ballot I turned to the Internet to learn more about those running. I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of politics, often even less a fan of politicians, and I register as Independent. This being said, I believe strongly in taking the responsibility of voting seriously, and try to do the best I can to cast my ballot with reason and knowledge. When it comes to visiting candidate websites, I often struggle wondering how much I can trust in what they write and promise, and also understanding and expecting that candidates will work to put their best foot forward, meanwhile hoping that I can trust in their intentions.
The four candidates are, of course, four very different individuals. They come from different cultural backgrounds, have different careers, are motivated in different ways, and in their campaigns focus on different areas. However, amidst all these differences, amidst the differences that we all have as individuals there seemed to be a common message, and a common desire — hope.
Sunder Ramani and his family
Sunder Ramani, born in Bangalore, India, was able to pursue the “American Dream”, build a business, build a family, and seeks to create opportunities for others to do the same. By focusing on building jobs through small businesses, improving the quality of education, and working across party lines, Ramani plans to make a positive difference. His hope — to keep the American Dream alive so that all can build a fulfilling life.
Nayiri Nahabedian in the classroom
Nayiri Nahabedian has spent most of her life in Southern California, although originally from Boston, and has made it her home. She took advantages of many educational opportunities, became involved with providing social services to others, and focuses on bettering the lives of those in her community. Through mentoring programs, educational resources, and community involvement, Nahabedian is working to use her influence and power for good. Her hope — to ensure that individuals receive the services they need to pursue healthy and successful lives.
Chahe Keuroghelian profiled against his campaign materials
Chahe Keuroghelian began his journey of community involvement and service through law enforcement. He has offered his skills as a multilinguist (five languages) to act as a Public Information Officer, Community Service Officer, and member of a neighborhood Crime Prevention Unit. He has been involved in a number or community organizations and projects. He seeks to build hope in the lives of those around him by supporting small businesses, building consensus amongst his colleagues, and investing in youth. His hope — to bring communities together and protect the rights of all in order to live peaceful and rich lives.
Mike Gatto speaking with fellow citizens
Mike Gatto seeks to uphold, not only the American Dream, but also the California Dream. Having been raised in the belief that anything is possible if one is willing to work hard, pursue an education, and act as a responsible citizen, he seeks to ensure that it is a reality and truth for others. With a background in law, Gatto has worked to move through the legal system to make changes that will improve the lives of others. He uses his position, knowledge, and experience to restore a sense of hope by protecting California’s natural resources, working to bring balance to the state budget, and provide opportunities for youth. His hope — to protect the California Dream in order that individuals can live in beauty, peace, and happiness.
No matter the avenues to do so, no matter the particular focus, no matter the story in the background — each of these candidates seems to be working through their God-given talents, their passions, and their experience to keep dreams alive, better the quality of life of their fellow citizens, and preserve hope.
So rather than, “may the best candidate win”, I say, “may the winning candidate be and do the best they can to follow through with their intentions and campaign for hope, and may those who don’t win continue daily in their campaigns for hope.”
UPDATE: I visited Secretary of State, Debra Bowen‘s site (I think it’s quite cool how she employs a variety of technological mediums to keep voters informed — her site, Twitter, etc.) this morning to check for results. Not only do I find the percentages and votes to be interesting in that there doesn’t seem to be any strong leaning, but also that it reinforces that these individuals represent the interests and motivations of so many members in our community. I hope they all can take away from this that we all want to better our lives, and take their responsibility to do their part in representing us seriously. Again I say, may the winning candidate be and do the best they can, and may those who don’t win continue to strive towards daily making a positive impact.