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

Independence Day USA

My favorite holiday in #USA 💕 Nothing sweeter than freedom!!! It can not be taken from you, only you can volunteer it away by taking it for granted. Cherish liberty. Angeli & Dominic, you wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for your immigrant Mama! Never forget your Armenian roots. Never forget your heritage in America begins with refugees fleeing persecution.…/…/0615649653 Never forget that, immigration saves lives, saved my life. You won the ultimate Uterus Jackpot by being born in this country, for everyone else freedom is a prayer, a struggle, a war, a dream. Support your country always, support your government ONLY when it deserves it 🙌 Mark Twain
Happy Independence Day!

Never Forget POW MIA Idaho

This is the greatest honor of my life, speaking at the POW * MIA Western States annual dinner on this 50th anniversary!! Proud of Dominic for reading his poem “Brave.” I can not express how sentimental this moment is for my family, to honor my grandfather Sarkiss Babayan and share his legacy with fellow Veterans. Never Forget 🙏🏼 God Bless our POW * MIA families. #MagicValley #Veterans #POWMIA

The People First the Will of the People!!

Let the countdown begin until Nov 1st, when tens and thousands of Idahoans will be eligible to enroll in the expanded medicaid program!! Are you eligible? Learn more at Enrollment begins Nov 1st 2019, coverage begins Jan 1, 2020. So proud to be part of this movement to close the heath coverage gap for Idaho families. #ThePeopleFirst #Health #Access #Reclaim #Idaho #DemocracyinAction

Hispanic Community & Diversity Commitee

Diversity and Inclusion Charter
“We The People” means everyone.
Full house at last night’s Twin Falls City Council for the presentation of the official Diversity Committee First, I must acknowledge and honor all the past marginalized generations who dreamt of a day when they would be respected, represented and included as stakeholders in the decision making process for the city they live in, raise families in, own property in and economically contribute to its thriving success. Thank you to all the individuals involved from the very beginning, starting back in July 2018. 🙏🏼 Thank you to everyone who mobilized and joined this grassroots, community inclusion effort and for representing the enriching diversity of Twin Falls.  #DiversityCommission #thisisTwinFalls #Inclusion #OneCity

The People First!

Proud to be the people’s candidate! I am humbled by the opportunity to represent. Outside of the Twin Falls political establishment and far from the crony “good ol’ boys and girls club.” Honored to represent the everyday, middle class families of our community. To represent the small business owners, and hard working individuals striving for a better life for their children. My campaign is 100% backed by the people! My full obligation is to serve the people of Twin Falls. Thank you for showing your support by making a small contribution.  I rather be backed by people with $5, $10, $20 each, than 1 special interests group donor of $1000. This seat is not for sale! I refuse to accept contributions to my campaign from special interest groups, corporate or realtors association, political party groups or anyone else trying to buy a seat on our Twin Falls City Council. This seat belongs to THE PEOPLE! VOTE BABAYAN this Nov 5th. #ThePeopleFirst #VoteBabayan #TwinFallsCityCouncil

Miss Africa Idaho 2018

Love when our community embraces and nurtures the rich diversity of all who call Idaho home. Nothing feels better than uplifting women. I’m obsessed with supporting women reaching their education and career goals. Blessed to surround myself with like minded partners. From ripples to waves, the Miss Africa Idaho pageant is a platform for positive local and global influence. From right here in Twin Falls, Idaho, the flame of empowerment is passed on to ignite the possibilities of pure potential in the next generation. This is how the world should spin.  #celebrate #diversity #education #community #PowerofPartnerships #MissAfricaIdaho #thisisTwinFalls

Shoshone Falls

One of my favorite pictures I ever took of the Shoshone Falls. It makes me appreciate the water flowing even more. For tourist our nature is a breathtaking, picture backdrop during their vacation. Our rivers, canyons, hot springs, sunsets, wildlife and open spaces their occasional playground. For locals, our nature is a lifeline. More than a living space, our local nature is essential to our survival. The water gives life to the Magic Valley. Nature is sacred. It takes care of us, we must take care of it. I think of the Indigenous Americans and their “Seven Generation” philosophy about our relationship with Mother Nature. Every action should be a positive benefit the next seven generations, keeping us responsible to the environment. We must respect eco systems, protect the dignity and integrity of our sacred nature. Big box stores and over development has left our Canyon Rim mutilated. There is a fine balance of economic development and defending what’s sacred, what’s not for sale. We can develop subdivisions, attract big business and tourism and leave sites like our Canyon off the negotiation table. Nature belongs to the people. Choose sustainability, a lifestyle in harmony with nature. Speak up and defend our local lands. We hunt, fish, farm and live off these lands, honoring Mother Nature’s continual giving of abundance to us. Cherish our local nature, its a treasure, protect it for the next seven generations. #VoteBabayan #TwinFallsCityCouncil