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Bothell's Rauniyar eyes 1st District seat
Darshan Rauniyar appreciates a good challenge.
The 42-year-old Bothell resident moved from Nepal to the United States 22 years ago to study electronics engineering. In pursuit of the American Dream, he first earned his master in business administration from Portland State University and then his engineering degree from the Oregon Institute of Technology.
That was just the start.
“I came from one of the poorest countries in the world. I came to this country for education,” he said. “At a hi-tech company, (I went from) starting as a technician, climbing the corporate ladder, to running a company.”
He’s the co-founder of multi-million-dollar Flash Ventures, which manufactures jump drives and memory cards. The company is based out of New York, but Rauniyar lives in Bothell with his wife, Poonam, a pediatrician, and two children, Sarwesh, 11, and Sidhant, 5.
Rauniyar’s latest challenge is running for Congress in Washington’s 1st Congressional District, which covers a host of cities, including Bothell and Kenmore. The Democrat is the only non-politician running for the seat that Rep. Jay Inslee will vacate when he goes for the Washington governor’s spot. Also planning to be on the ballot with Rauniyar for the Nov. 6, 2012 election are Roger Goodman, Steve Hobbs, Marko Liias, Laura Ruderman and James Watkins.
Rauniyar announced his candidacy June 27 — the same day Inslee announced his run for governor — and filed his papers in July.
“My campaign has been picking up very nicely,” he said, noting that he raised more than $30,000 in the first month and people from age 18 to 84 are supporting him on his grassroots-level campaign.
While most budding politicians might start their careers on the city-council level, Rauniyar is giving Congress a shot right out of the gate.
“On a local level, I can talk about it, but this is a great opportunity for me to go to Washington, DC, and truly represent this district. The change has to come from Washington, DC, down,” said Rauniyar, who has been a political activist over the years and got interested in politics by opposing the Gulf War in the ‘90s. “I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I want to represent the people to make this district a model for the rest of the country, and I’m going to work very hard for it.”
Rauniyar said that his campaign reflects the American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He feels the American Dream is fading away with many people out of jobs and not able to afford health insurance; he also believes that kids aren’t getting as strong an education as before and he worries about his kids and their future.
Wife Poonam encouraged Darshan to pursue politics.
“She’s solidly behind me because I talk about politics and America,” he said. “She said, ‘This is what you always wanted to do, this is your passion. You have always been successful on other ventures, you might want to jump into it and try it out because you have a good story, you have a good heart.’”