To our leaders, who are the keepers of our future:
You don’t know me. To many of you, I am seen as just a voter. To many of you, I am used as a talking point. And to many of you, I am just the recipient of an email for campaign contributions.
But I am more than just that. I, along with my family, fill in shoes of struggle on a day to day basis. These shoes are put on every single day by the middle class in this country. These shoes are put on every single day by immigrants and minorities in this country. And these shoes are put on every single day by students who are burdened with student loans in this country.
When we struggle, our country struggles. Have you been in these shoes? If you have, have you forgotten what it is like to be in our situation, while you stay in Washington and see your personal wealth increase year by year? Do you think we haven’t caught on to these pay for play politics, as you take donations from corporations and special interests?
I am frustrated. My family is frustrated. My community is frustrated. My country is frustrated. In fact, so many people were frustrated that they felt electing someone like Donald Trump was a better alternative to you, the Democratic establishment.
You let me down. You let my family down. You let my community down. And most importantly, your flawed ways let my country down. And now, we are paying the price. We wake up every morning afraid to turn on the news to check the headlines.
When will you understand that repeating the same tactics of the past will only result in the same future? Are you truly serious about taking back Congress in 2018? Are you truly serious about taking back the White House in 2020? In Congress, we hold fewer seats than at any point since 1946.
Will you let me have a seat at the table? Will you give me the opportunity to represent my community, so I can enact change from a people’s perspective, because I understand what it’s like? Will you allow us to have our Congress become more progressive, more inclusive, and more diverse? Or, are you content with consolidating power amongst a few, like you always have?
Let me tell you about myself. It’s an American story, like millions of others. My parents came to this country in pursuit of the American Dream. They came here to study, to work hard, and to raise a family. And they did, like millions of others. But during the recession, they were hurting. They, like millions of Americans, were hurting. And they still are hurting.
The middle class today is left behind. With the soaring costs of healthcare, housing, and education and the difficulties to maintain a stable job, we struggle. We struggle to pay the bills and we struggle to forge the best lives for ourselves.
We’ve been saying this for years. And recently, it’s only gotten worse. We respect your hard work, don’t get me wrong. But, will you realize that now is the time to pass on the torch, so we can continue to build our country together?
I know what your answer will be. Because I’ve heard it. That’s why, instead of seeking permission, I’m just going to do it. I am going to run for Congress, so that we can have a voice, so that we the people can have a seat at the table. But it’s not about me or my candidacy, it’s about doing my duty as an American to encourage everyone frustrated to run as well, because that’s the only way we change this country.
And it starts here, in California’s 12th district. I am a law student and a first generation American, with parents who left Iran because of the Revolution. Our family’s healthcare costs have gone up, my dad’s small business is struggling to keep its doors open, and my mom has faced a series of lay-offs. I currently live in student housing in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco with $150,000 in student loans. I had to take out more just so I could keep living here this summer. And, I have a president that hates my family, and wants to make sure they can’t come to America. I know what it’s like to stay up late at night, feeling cast aside and voiceless.
My name is Ryan Khojasteh, and I am running against the leader of the Democratic Party. I hope you join me in running for office, so that we the people can now be the keepers of our future. If there ever was a time, it would be now.