Irvine Mayor Farrah Kahn is the first woman of color to lead that city and the first Muslim woman to be a mayor of a large city. In the latest PolicyWise podcast (S3, E5), she joins hosts Demetria Wack and Michael Wiafe and fellow guest Mansi Kalra to discuss redefining electability.
Before Mayor Kahn ran for office, the Irvine City Council was not very diverse and she was told her name would make her “unelectable.” She said, “That got me thinking, then maybe we do need change because there are a lot of people that look like me and have a name like mine and I don’t see why we couldn’t be in leadership roles.”
Since she took office, Mayor Kahn has promoted inclusivity and community building. She has also made a big push to recognize young people by holding regular town halls with middle and high school students and including them on City committees.
Kalra, currently a graduate student at the University of San Francisco and a YLI program coordinator, is also from Irvine. She applauds Mayor Kahn’s initiative to recognize Irvine’s diverse communities. “When we do elect leaders, it’s one thing to champion people in the polls and it’s another thing to champion people in the decision-making rooms and I think that’s something that Farrah has done really well.”