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  07/23/2013      11:00 am

Alive and Shine with Aadil and Savitri!: Running for Congress from an Immigrant's Perspective

Guest Profile

Darshan Rauniyar

Darshan Rauniyar

Twenty years ago, I came to America, the land of opportunity and freedom, in pursuit of the American dream. Here is my story:

From an early age, I was in awe of America; the freedom and the opportunity to succeed was something that I could only imagine. Growing up in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, was a social and economic challenge. My father died by a brain hemorrhage several months before I was born, leaving my mother to care for my 2-year-old sister and me. Despite my mother having to deal with the hardship of being a single parent, caring for two infants, and going to school, she knew that without an education she would not be able to earn enough to take care of us. It was at this formative time in my life, watching her struggle and succeed, that I found my inspiration, giving me the courage to dream and pursue a better life for myself through higher education.

With my mother as my role model, I grew up understanding that success is possible for those who work hard and believe in themselves. I was determined to live in a country where I had the liberty and opportunity to pursue higher education to take care of my family. Despite the social and economic hardships of growing up in an impoverished nation, I was determined to come to America, the land of opportunity. Without college scholarships, another sign of American generosity, my studies would not have been possible. In 1998, I graduated with my Masters in Business Administration.

After my formal education, my real life business education began in the high tech industry. I started as an engineer and quickly climbed the ladder to become a marketing professional and later to a higher-level management position. I took another step to fulfilling my American dream by co-founding a company focused in flash memory consumer electronics. Here I experienced the challenges of founding a company and I was determined to be successful in my new venture. We built the company from the ground up by sheer determination and dedication, working long hours, making cold calls, walking block to block, and traveling across the country. Our desire to make technology available at small and medium sized food and drug stores was innovative, and it was here I learned how these small businesses were the bedrock of our economy. We started doing business in more than 20 states. Our proposition to clients was to change their customer's buying habits; from old technology to new, and from traditional consumer electronics stores to mom and pop convenience stores and grocery stores.

Building my own small business, while working with many other small and medium-sized business owners, has provided me with invaluable insight about the practical challenges that employers and employees face, and it is because of this time in my life that when I speak of the economy now, I am not just speaking about economic models and theories, but the practical day-to-day reality of running a business.

Over the past ten years, as my career and business grew, I had the opportunity of working with a wide group of people from all walks of life, and I was given the honor of being able to provide my employees with good health care, a safe workplace, and high-paying jobs.

I have been active in politics for over a decade, and have campaigned for many local, state and federal candidates. I am an elected Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, and was an elected member of the Snohomish County Democratic Central Committee, and the 1st Legislative District Democrats Executive Committees. I am a member of the Snohomish County Human Rights Commission and the Snohomish County Parks Advisory Board. I have also served as a Board member in numerous non-profit organizations. But running deeper than this was still that teenage boy from Nepal who grew up to recognize what an amazing country the United States is; how, with just a little help, combined with hard work and dedication, anyone can achieve the American Dream. I recognized 10 years ago how fortunate I was, and I recommitted myself to focusing on local politics so I could start giving back to this great country.

The American dream is still possible, and even though we face economic challenges and an uncertain future, one thing that is certain is that when we work together as a nation these challenges will be overcome. Superficially, America may not be the country that I immigrated to twenty years ago; the American dream has faded for many families, but the values upon which this country was built, the values of freedom, hope, liberty, hard work, tolerance and discipline are at the core unchanged. These are the values that were instilled in me at a young age, and these are the values bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers. I am running for Congress because I know that the American dream can be saved. I want to give back to this amazing country, which has given so much to me. Our values, our greatness as Americans, must be reflected in our politics and policies if we are to give every American the chance to pursue the American dream once again. I humbly ask for your support.