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Darius Shahinfar was a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 21st Congressional District (map) of New York. He was seeking the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. Mike McNulty (R-N.Y.), but lost a primary to Phillip Steck on September 9, 2008.
Positions, record and controversies
Darius promises to take no gifts or contributions from lobbyists and specials interests.
Renew America's Promise for Good Jobs and a Strong Economy Seven years of fiscal mismanagement by the Bush-Cheney Team has squandered the surplus left to them by a Democratic administration. They’ve driven far too many Americans into debt and their policies are putting a real squeeze on the middle-class.
Darius will fight for economic discipline and accountability. It’s time to bring budgets to Washington that get our nation out of the red and into the black. It’s also time for America’s taxpayers to get something for our money other than paying interest to foreign nations.
Renew America's Promise to Our Environment and Future Generations
Darius will fight for a smart, national energy policy that will not only save the earth, but also save us money in the long-run. Our nation can no longer afford our unhealthy addiction to oil – specifically foreign oil. Darius will fight to end the subsidies and tax breaks that the Bush Administration has handed out to their friends in Big Oil. If we want to combat high gas prices and overcome our overdependence on foreign oil, we must invest in alternative energy sources.
Renew America's Promise to Our Seniors
Our country’s greatest generation built America into what it is today. And Darius believes we must honor our parents and grandparents by making sure they can retire with dignity and security while enjoying good health. Darius will continue Congressman McNulty’s legacy of looking out for our senior citizens and those living on a fixed-income. Darius will beat back against the Bush legacy of irresponsible budgets that threaten to bankrupt our pension system. Social Security protects tens of millions of retirees and lifts millions more seniors above the poverty line. Darius will fight Republican attempts to privatize Social Security or any other unwise schemes that would dismantle this sacred compact.
Renew America's Promise to Our Children and Students
Education is the key to America maintaining its competitive advantage in this 21st century world. Darius will fight for our children so they’re free to learn in public schools – safely, securely and with the best chance to get ahead in life. Darius believes its time for us all to work together – parents, teachers, elected officials and the community – to find solutions to fix our common problems. For example, the Bush Administration’s “No Child Left Behind” program has failed by “teaching to the test,” taking away resources from the best and the brightest students and leaving property taxpayers holding the bag for its unfunded mandates. Darius will work to reform the program.
Renew America's Promise to Women and Working Families
Today, we live in a world where two-income households aren’t just a reality, but also a necessity. As a husband and a father in a home where both parents work, Darius knows first-hand the struggles of balancing home and work lives, and getting our children up and off to day care and school.
In Congress, Darius will fight to make child care more affordable and accessible for working families. For example, Darius believes that if a state like Oklahoma can make universal Pre-K work, then there is no reason that Congress shouldn’t be able to make it a reality nationwide. Darius also supports a living wage that keeps up with changing times and making sure women receive equal pay for equal work.
Renew America's Promise to the Rest of the World
Darius is proud to be a first-generation American. His father came to our country in search of a better life for his family. From that experience Darius knows first-hand what America means to people around our globe. For centuries, America stood as a beacon of freedom and liberty. We were viewed as the nation of opportunity and of hope for a better, brighter tomorrow. Sadly, under the Bush administration we’ve become, in the eyes of many around the globe, the nation of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and of waterboarding and wiretapping. Darius will work hard to once again make our nation one of laws and not men.
Renew America’s Promise to Those Serving on the Front Line
Today, we are still mired – halfway across the globe – in a war that President Bush should never have dragged us into in the first place. Darius will fight to bring America’s soldiers home from an endless war in Iraq that is costing us precious lives and sapping our economy.
While our brave men and women in uniform have done all that’s been asked of them, it’s time to bring them home. Darius strongly supports “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq” – which addresses both immediate and long-term concerns in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as here at home. Endorsed by numerous military, foreign and domestic policy experts, this proposal is a comprehensive plan calling for the passage of seventeen Democratic-sponsored bills. The core objectives are to end U.S. military action in Iraq, repair the diplomatic and humanitarian damage done by the war and subsequent occupation, and prevent a repeat of similar foreign policy blunders in the future.
Renew America's Promise to Those who Have Fought to Protect our Nation
When our men and women in uniform come back to American soil, Darius will fight to support them and their families in every way possible as they re-adjust to civilian life.
Darius supports America’s soldiers when they are protecting our interests and security overseas, but he also believes we must also show support when they come back home to their families in Schenectady, Canajoharie or Johnstown. These brave men and women in uniform have served us with honor. We, in return, are honor-bound to serve them and their families by ensuring the healthcare, support, services and jobs they deserve and were promised.<
From an early age, Darius was taught that if you work hard and do the right thing, that you can get ahead in life. He believes that America’s Promise is that America must work for working Americans. And today, Darius is running for Congress to Renew Upstate New York and Renew America’s Promise.
Darius has a strong belief that being in public service is about serving people and making their lives better. He has the most diverse and direct experience in the 21st Congressional District Democratic Primary, and is the candidate best suited to make the most difference in Washington for our families in Upstate New York. He has worked in the private and in the public sector; he’s worked in all branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial; and in all three levels of government: state, local and federal.
A first generation American, Darius grew up in Utica, New York, where he learned the values of responsibility, community, compassion, loyalty and hard work from his parents, his neighborhood and his community. Darius graduated from New Hartford High School and went on to Bates College in Maine, where he received a Bachelors in American History.
During his school years, Darius worked a variety of jobs – from pumping gas, to waiting tables to custodial services. At one point, he even sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door. After college, Darius returned home to Upstate New York and worked for the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York where Darius represented disabled people before the Social Security Administration. This experience at Legal Aid, taught Darius how advocacy on behalf of people in need made real, positive differences in people’s lives. As a young man, working at Legal Aid was a turning point that gained him the inspiration to become an attorney to help make people’s lives better.
In 1994, Darius moved to Albany to attend Albany Law School. His first experience with elections was successful. In his First Year, Darius was elected President of his class, and in his second year, he was elected Student Bar President. He then went on to serve in the prestigious post of Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Law Review. During those years, Darius was fortunate to meet his future wife, Noelle Kinsch of Kingston, NY. He graduated Cum Laude winning the award for Student Service, and being selected as the Recent Graduate Trustee for the law school’s Board of Trustees.
Seeking policy experience, Darius was selected as a New York State Senate Fellow. He worked on a variety of issues for the Local Government Committee, including the first Smart Growth bill in New York State.
In 1999, Darius joined the local firm of Bouck, Holloway, Kiernan and Casey, (which later merged with Hiscock and Barclay) where he served as a litigator. In 2001, he accepted a clerkship in the New York State Appellate Court, and upon the expiration of the term, he joined the Albany County Attorney’s office under County Attorney Michael Lynch and County Executive Michael Breslin where he worked for over 6 years and served as Deputy County Attorney for County Attorney Kristina Burns handling a wide range of civil and criminal legal work for the taxpayers of Albany County.
In 2004, Darius took a leave of absence from Albany County and volunteered on John Kerry’s Presidential Campaign – where he served as the Regional Coordinator at the Coordinated Campaign’s Northern Virginia office. Returning home, Darius became a 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman for the Albany County Democratic Committee and joined the local grassroots organization Democracy for the Hudson-Mohawk Region.
But Darius’ most rewarding experience has been working for Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand and the people of the neighboring 20th Congressional District. Darius worked with her from the start of her campaign and, after her hard fought victory, joined her office as Capital District Representative. He administered Rep. Gillibrand’s Saratoga Springs office, tending to constituent concerns and issues in and around the region. Here he fought for veterans to get the benefits that they earned, for the disabled who were facing losing their homes and for seniors who are making choices between heating their homes and filling their prescriptions. Darius also worked on the Congresswoman’s Economic Development Projects, 21st-century job creation, and helped create policy through the creation of green-collar jobs in Upstate New York.
Darius is a homeowner and lives with his family in the heart of Albany. He is a devoted husband, father and neighbor. Together with his wife Noelle, a partner with an Albany Law Firm, they are raising their one-and-a-half year old son, Jackson, and are expecting their second child later this year. They are committed to their neighbors, from whom they receive some of their best support. It is with such strong neighborhood networks, he believes, that we are able to keep our neighborhoods safe, clean and prosperous.
Darius is admitted to both the New York and Massachusetts Bar, he serves on the Board of Directors of Saint Anne’s Institute, and he and Noelle are active volunteers for Equinox where she serves as Board President.
Darius Shahinfar's Ethics and Good Governance Contract I promise to you, the citizens of Upstate New York, I will:
- Not accept campaign contributions from lobbyists
- Not accept gifts from lobbyists
- Not accept meals from lobbyists
- Not accept trips from lobbyists
- Not accept contributions from corporate political action committees
- Not accept contributions from individuals seeking earmarks or other appropriations
- Commit myself to openness and transparency by making my congressional schedule public and easily accessible on the web.
- Always put the interests of the Upstate New Yorkers I represent first.
Articles and resources
- 2008 U.S. congressional elections
- Portal:New York and the U.S. Congress
- Official Shahinfar for Congress Web site
- 2008 Race Tracker page on New York’s 21st Congressional District