By Sheri ArbitalJacoby
North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan (D–Great Neck) formally launched her congressional campaign to succeed Congressman Steve Israel with a rally in Great Neck’s Jonathan L. Ielpi Firefighters Park on Sunday, March 6. On the council, Kaplan represents parts of the Roslyn area.
Kaplan was surrounded by a diverse group of supporters and community leaders as she kicked off her campaign for the Democratic nomination in New York’s Third Congressional District.
“I’m running for Congress to help make America the best we can be, not turn American against American,” said Councilwoman Kaplan. “My journey from political refugee to councilwoman to congressional candidate could only happen here in America. We are blessed to be living here—not just my family—all of us.”
If elected, Kaplan would optimize the American dream as the first Iranian-American in Congress. Born Anna Monahemi in northern Iran, Kaplan was raised in Tehran and came to the U.S. as a refugee at age 13 as part of an international effort to help Jewish children escape Iran’s Islamic Revolution. She lived with a foster family in Chicago for nearly a year before she was reunited with her parents and settled in Queens.
As an immigrant, Kaplan is empathetic to special interest groups, and her supporters, who all spoke from the heart, included representatives from the Veterans Advisory Council, the Great Neck Korean-American Civic Association, the Great Neck Chinese Association and the Manhasset-Great Neck EOC.
The first speaker on Sunday afternoon was Matt Falcone, United States Marine Corps veteran and member of the North Hempstead Veterans Advisory Committee, who said “Anna Kaplan is a doer. She takes her job seriously and will do everything she can for the people she represents.”
Next, Youngsoo Choi, director of the Great Neck Korean-American Civic Association, discussed how Kaplan brings people together to solve problems. “I can tell you this from my heart: I have never seen an elected official like Anna who cared so much about underrepresented people who seek help and the issues that affect people in the community. I am very confident that in this time of divided America, Anna Kaplan is a person who cherishes people and who can bring all people together,” said Choi.
Mo Chen, vice president of the Great Neck Chinese Association, talked about Kaplan’s selfless dedication. “I have personally seen Anna’s sincerity, consistency and hard work she puts in every day,” said Chen. “She reaches out to everyone and shares so much of herself.”
Before introducing Kaplan, Desiree Woodson, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Manhasset-Great Neck EOC “Encouraging Our Children” Hagedorn Community Center, said, “Anna is there for us. She shows up and helps our programs. We have been blessed to be represented by Anna Kaplan and I know that in Congress, she will continue to be there whenever we need her.”
As Kaplan formally launched her campaign, she said, “What makes our community and our country so wonderful is the fact it’s so diverse. This is what America is all about. This is the foundation on which America was built, welcoming people from all over, and having those people in return put forth their best efforts to succeed.”
Read more about Kaplan at www.greatneckrecord.com.