Not long after Jan. 6, Rhoda Nazanin, a Northridge resident, filed paperwork to run for Congress.
“The insurrection that took place on that day … was difficult for many of us,” Nazanin, a Democrat, told The Signal in a phone interview. “For me, it really hit home in a different way.”
Born in Iran to Christian Assyrian parents, Nazanin said her family came to the United States to flee religious persecution during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
“Seeing and hearing things like, ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and ‘Hang Nancy Pelosi,’ on the Capitol steps, it just really destroyed me as an American, as an immigrant, who has family members who survive that,” she said.
If elected to represent the 25th District, which includes the SCV, Nazanin said her top priority would be making health care available to all.
“I don’t want anyone to go through what I did,” she said of her family’s experience with her father’s cancer. “My dad passed away in 2005, and that was partly because he was 56 years old (and) he had put off going to a doctor because we simply couldn’t afford to have health insurance.”
The associated medical costs caused her to postpone her education. She then followed her father’s footsteps as a pastor.
“The things that I saw as a pastor really inspired me to continue serving my community,” said Nazanin, who now works at Skirball Cultural Center and as in-home caretaker. “It breaks my heart how many homeless people we have in our community…because I’m only a paycheck away from being homeless (and) I’m not the only one.”
Nazanin said she’s spent her career serving people.
“It’s time for someone to come in, like myself, who will bring the folks of District 25 and all of us to Washington, D.C.,” she said.
The 25th District is currently represented by Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita. Democrats Christy Smith, Ruth Luevanos, Quaye Quartey and Dara Stransky have also announced their candidacy for the seat.