Our series profiling independent and alt-party candidates for seats in the November election who have endorsed the New Progressive Alliance’s Unified Platform continues. An introductory piece is here.
By Anthony Noel
NPA Communications Director
As the Rick Scott and Charlie Crist elephant-and-jackass show gathers steam in Florida, a candidate who shares one similarity with Crist – a 2010 gubernatorial run as an Independent – is being largely overlooked.
But for Farid Khavari, an Iranian-American economist and author, that’s where the similarities end.
Khavari’s birthplace means he has no presidential aspirations (although in the cases of both Scott and Crist, delusions might be the better word). And his thoroughly fleshed-out policy initiatives mean Khavari won’t be passing himself off as a Florida Democrat anytime soon.
“Florida’s Democrat leadership serves the Republican Party,” Khavari insists. “There is no opposition to the extremist Republican agenda in the legislature; 40 seats are not even contested by Democrats. This state has been ruled by a minority party for decades – Scott elected by only 23.2 percent of voters, Crist by 24 percent.”
“The only way to make state government work for the people,” he concludes, “is with an Independent governor.”
Khavari began this cycle as a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor, a race from which he withdrew to focus on his second Independent run in as many gubernatorial cycles. “I’m waiting until after the election to change my registration,” he said. Though the Green Party has approched him, “I prefer to be an Independent.”
Khavari’s Ph.D in economics shows. “I’m the only candidate for governor with an economic plan which explains in detail how we can solve our economic problems at no cost to taxpayers.” And he really does; a plan so granular that even cyberspace seems to have a little less room by the time one has slogged through it.
Khavari’s plan is a nod to the potential effectiveness of economic initiatives in driving social policy, and he’s not shy about saying so: “I am running to revive Florida’s economy and to eliminate the needless suffering of millions of Floridians caused by bad economic policies.”
Those doubting Khavari’s Progressive chops – easy to do in a state where the word is more recognized as the name of an insurance company than a political ideology – need only study his key issues: A jobs program where “many of the jobs will be created in the course of solving our other problems”; Reduced-cost (and eventually free) higher education and a vastly improved public school system; establishment of a citizens-owned “SuperBank,” restructuring the state’s homeowner’s insurance and health care systems; marriage equality; saving the Everglades; and implementing medical marijuana (Florida is voting on it this cycle) through small growers and dispensaries, “out of the hands of big business. Later,” Khavari adds, he would “lead a ballot initiative for legal marijuana with the same sensible regulations.”
Here’s an overview of his plan for a state bank, from his 2010 campaign.
A lifelong small business owner and holder of two patents, Khavari also pledges to “veto any legislation that benefits a special interest group at the expense of the people,” something he says “only an Independent governor can do.”
Khavari’s been a U.S. resident since 1977. He lived and studied in Germany before that. Born in Iran in 1943, he earned his Ph.D in economics from the University of Bremen with a dissertation on the pricing of OPEC crude oil. (Solar energy is a key component of his economic plan for Florida.)
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard executed Khavari’s father in 1980 for refusing to renounce his religion. Then, Khavari says, the Guard “charged my mother for the bullets and [said she must] denounce her religion if she wanted to keep her house. She walked out of the house and told them to keep it.”
A chapter in his 1990 book Oil and Islam is called “The Lesser Evil,” in reference to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The book detailed Khavari’s long-held belief that “the real threat to the West comes from Iran, not Iraq.” He is a frequent guest on Iranian-language radio programs, particularly in Los Angeles, which has a large Iranian ex-pat community.
In addition to his gubernatorial campaigns, Khavari ran for mayor of Miami-Dade County in 2012.
To contact the campaign: