Three Turkish Americans Running for Public Offices in 2011
Building on the election of two Turkish Americans in 2010 - the Honorable Jay Karahan’s reelection as Presiding Judge of the Harris County Criminal Court #8 in Houston, Texas, and John Alpay’s election as Area 3 Trustee for the Capistrano Unified School District in San Clemente, California - three Turkish Americans ran for public office in 2011.
Michael Ciftci is a candidate for Tampa City Council, District 3 Citywide. Elections are scheduled for March 1, 2011. Michael is a strong believer in American exceptionalism and seeks to reignite our nation’s passion for accomplishment, beginning in Tampa, Florida. Professionally, Michael has been working at the intersection of business and politics for the past ten years, including interning in the US Congress and working on US presidential campaigns. Michael is currently the policy director and co-founder of United for a Sustainable America, a non-profit NGO dedicated to advancing the economic case for sustainable development. The NGO operates in the United States, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East. Michael is also a partner and co-founder Sustainable Strategies LLC, a resource efficiency consulting company. Michael is a first generation Turkish American from Adana, Turkey on his father’s side, and a fifth generation Floridian on his mother’s side. He is blessed with a younger sister and younger brother. Michael graduated from the University of Florida where he studied Political Science & International Relations. (www.michaelfortampa.com).
Bahri 'Barry' Aliriza
Bahri “Barry” Aliriza is running as a Democrat for Loudon County Supervisor (Sterling District) in Virginia. As President/Owner of Polytrade International Corp, an exclusive worldwide distributor for PTI-ENERGY + Fuel Additives, Bahri has been active in Democratic politics in the state for many years. He was elected in 2008 as an Obama Delegate for the Virginia Democratic Party. He received an Outstanding Performance Award during the Annual Loudoun County Democrats Dinner event in 2009. He has served on the regional Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee (ACPAC) since 2008, and is currently being considered for the Loudon County Building Code and Appeals Board. He has worked on numerous campaigns over the years, including those to elect John Bell for Virginia Delegate in Loudoun County, David Poisson for Delegate in Loudoun County, and others. Bahri has been an active member of the Turkish American community since he was a student, serving as President and Founder of Turkish Students Association at Ohio University, representing International Students in the Student Senate at Ohio University, serving as a Board Member of the Hilal Turkish American Islamic Center, and serving as President and Founder of Northern Cyprus Cultural Society. (www.barryaliriza.com)
Massachusetts School Committee District A
Kemal Bozkurt, is running for School Committee District A in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He has been serving as a Lawrence Zoning Board Member for the last nine years. Professionally, Kemal has been working as a reference librarian for 11 years. He has one master’s degree, and is working towards completing a second. He is preparing for a September 19, 2011 primary. (www.kemalbozkurt.com)