Pizza & Politics at CSI Student Union

WOW!! What an exciting turn out of young voters supporting me for Twin Falls City Council. 💯🙌🏽 Democracy in Action! I love when they say “I finally feel there is a candidate who represents me that I can vote for.” Love that they are engaged and excited about their civic duty!! That is such an honor and responsibility for me to represent their authentic voices. Loved meeting each of you at Pizza and Politics at CSI today, and listening, listening and hearing the issues that matter to our younger demographic. Affordable Housing, Safe Community, Transportation, Diversity – among my focus platforms on Thank you for trusting me with your vote and voice!! #YoungVoters #ThePeopleFirst #VoteBabayan #Nov5th #CityCouncilElections Thank you CSI

I declare my candidacy for Twin Falls City Council Seat 4

I want our children to live in a Twin Falls like the one we grew up in. One that does not lose its small town values, small business, safe neighborhoods and accountability. Our city is growing too fast, without a supportive infrastructure or affordable housing to sustain all this growth. Tax payers are tired of picking up the tab of senseless government spending. We want to live in a city that makes sound, future proof economic and development decisions, is responsible stewards of the natural resources we are blessed with. We want to live in a Twin Falls that offers a pathways to a bright future for everyone, especially our youth.

My full platform is outlined under community issues. It is driven by prioritizing working-class values instilled by my parents: conservative spending, individual liberty, limited government, equality, dignity and respect of all people, regardless of their background.

and I am ready to earn your vote this Nov 5th. I will be your outspoken voice, wherever it is needed, putting the people of our community first.

Support me by, donating to become a campaign ambassador by volunteering, by hosting a meet and greet at your home, small business or civic group. Elections are this November 5th. Register to vote at #ThePeopleFirst #VoteBabayan #TwinFallsCityCouncilSeat4

Presenting my book “Liminal” in Congress

When you are invited to Washington D.C. to present your book in Congress. 🙌🏽 I am deeply honored to share my family’s genocide survivor story with members of Congress today. Wish me luck!! 🙏🏽 I wish my grandparents were alive to witness this day!! Meeting and presenting my testimony to Foreign Affairs Committee members today. I dedicate this day and my book “Liminal, a refugee memoir ” to the memory of my beloved Aunt Lola Ter Simonyan, murdered in the ethnic killings in Baku, Azerbaijan. I am grateful for this once lifetime opportunity. Proud to represent Twin Falls everywhere this book takes me. #proudmoment #Idaho #refugee #author #LiminalMemoir

Affordable Housing & Rental Crisis

I had the honor of meeting David and his caregiver today. They registered to vote for the first time and will be voting in this City Council election. 🙌🏽 He gave me permission to share his story. David is a single father of two, struggling to find affordable housing in Twin Falls. After surviving an accident leaving him paralyzed, he was overwhelmed with medical bills and finding a place to live. He has been on a waiting list for over two years!! Currently 90% of his disability check goes to rent an tiny apartment that is NOT accessible.

Each time you submit an application for housing it cost at least $25. How can someone on disability income afford these applications fees with $60 to survive with after paying rent? We need multi-income access to housing in Twin Falls for families on limited income, seniors, veterans and individuals living with disabilities. This housing crisis, price gouging, lack of housing options and homelessness is what many families in our community face.

Affordable housing is a priority issues for my Twin Falls City Council election. Read about my platforms on What David, veterans, seniors, and limited income families experience in TF housing is unacceptable. Every family deserves a decent place to live in, without choosing between rationing food, heat or medicine. #ThePeopleFirst #VoteBabayan #Nov5th #TwinFallsCityCouncilSeat4

Idaho Hometown Hero Award

I asked the most handsome man to be my date for the Idaho’s Hometown Hero Ceremony. Thank you Governor and JRM Foundation for Humanity for recognizing my local and global humanitarian life’s work!! In all the languages I know, there are still not enough words to express gratitude for the life of opportunity America granted my refugee family. I dedicate my Idaho Hometown Hero Medal to my Father, Martin and Mama, Tamara for their dire, backbreaking work and sacrifice to rebuild our lives with the crumbs of the American Dream in a new country. They don’t make medals for people like my parents. They are my HEROS!! I take pride in giving back and serving my adoptive community and country, and we are just getting started! Looking forward to meeting the 2019 Medalist and sharing my book “Liminal, a refugee memoir” with the great people of Pocatello this Saturday, September 7th. Learn more about the inspiring humanitarian work Idahoans are doing worldwide at Idaho’s Hometown Hero Medal. Truly humbled to receive this honor and share this special moment with my parents. Twin Falls, Idaho is our Ellis Island

The Opioid, Meth & Heroin Crisis in Twin Falls

Asking tax payers to pay for the expansion of jails is nonsense. We can not afford to be silent anymore! The status quo has failed the public, sweeping real issues under the rug for decades. We need new leadership that in touch with reality.

We are ignoring the biggest threat to public health and safety in Twin Falls. I’m speaking out on behalf of the struggling families and the children trapped in this cycle of addiction.

When you find used needles walking on the Canyon Rim, we have a problem. When a child is killed in daylight (in one of our nicer neighborhoods) in a drive by, we have a problem. When downtown businesses are affected by the daily drug activity on Main Ave, we have a problem. When everyone you talk to, has a loved one or knows of someone recovering from, or addicted to opioids, we have a REAL community problem!

The War on Drugs is a disaster and has failed the American people! This failed policy is embedded in our current criminal justice system. We won’t arrest our way out of it. We won’t shame our way out of it. We won’t ignore our way out of it. Meth, pills, heroine are available faster and cheaper in our Twin Falls, including our schools and the hookup is just $10 and call away. Forget the taboo stereotype of a dirty, street junkie, this opioid epidemic has no stereotype. Your spouse, clean dresses neighbor, soccer mom, church goer friend, grandfather, Veteran, professional co-worker or straight A, athlete teenage son/daughter is the stereotype and statistic.

Talking about expanding jails, bonds, locking people up – you might as well keep the tax payer tab open to a never ending path of spending.

I’ve personally lived through this cycle of addiction, experience loved ones and friends struggle in out the traps of substance abuse. Lost too many to overdose. I am not taking away the blame from individuals who make bad choices in life, but the choices people make in life are from the choices they are given. At least for our community in Twin Falls we can offer better choices. I propose we start by breaking the silence and take real action to address addition in our community. Our City Council must be genuinely invested in this effort to clean up our community. Not reactive, but proactive leadership.

I propose a NEW public policy & THROWING THE WAR ON DRUGS POLICY in to the trashcan!! I am pro legalization of medical marijuana and the use of taxes to fund public services, education and infrastructure development. One action City Council could take is, develop a task force composed of people who first hand experienced addiction cycles, work in substance addiction programs, abuse counselors, law enforcement, recovery nonprofits, health providers and faith leaders from the community to focus on tackling the heroin/meth/opioid epidemic.

Sue pharmaceutical companies for misinforming, misleading and betraying American families to fund recovery programs and support resources for individuals and families struggling with addiction. We should hold accountable those providers who dish out opioids and benzos like candy. Educate our children and empower families with preventative information. Write grants for federal and state level funding for addiction programs. We can begin addressing mental health which is one of the biggest elements underlying addiction.

First step in addiction recovery is admitting you have a problem. First step for our community is also admitting it has a problem. Our children deserve a drug free community to actualize their future dreams. I am committed and ready to co-create solutions for the well being of our children, our families & our community as your Councilwoman. 🙌🙏 #ThePeopleFirst #OpioidEpidemic #VoteBabayan #Nov5th #TwinFallsCityCouncil

Remembering September 11

Memory 18 years ago, sitting in class at Twin Falls High School, glued to the TV screen in disbelief. The first plane hit the tower, then the second. For my peers this was the first time they witnessed violence on such a scale. I remembered the atrocities and terrorism my family survived before coming to America. I couldn’t believe the country my family sought refuge in, was now under attack! Everyone was in shock, we were all affected. People united that day. I saw people crying, hugging, coping, grieving together at Twin Falls City Park on September 11, 2001. As one Nation, as one community, brought together by tragedy. We were one Nation on that day, I remember the way it felt. Do you remember? There was no division on that day, no color, no religion, no immigration status… it was beautiful. I honor this unity today, as I remember the lives lost on Sept 11. Nowadays it feels communities are dissected into who is “welcomed” and who is “not welcomed” here. Like we forgot. That’s a tragedy onto itself. September 11 effected ALL Americans. Born, naturalized, immigrated, documented, undocumented it was an attack all of us. On our individual and collective freedom. I cherish my liberties, and defend the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all. For some citizenship is a birthright, for the rest of us immigrants it’s a journey, a dream, a patriotic struggle. “We the people.” No truer words of unity ever written. #September11 #ThePeopleFirst #VoteBabayan #TwinFallsCityCouncil