Bellevue man becomes first Iranian-American elected to state legislature

Cyrus Habib became the first Iranian-American elected to state legislature when the Bellevue Democrat won his campaign for state representative in Washington's 48th Legislative District.

Habib, who is also blind, won the open seat with 61 percent of the vote, according to the Washington Secretary of State. His opponent, Republican Hank Myers, was serving his second term on the Redmond City Council.

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, which endorsed Habib, said he is the first Iranian-American to serve in a state legislature, and the highest ranking Iranian-American in elected office.

Habib is a newcomer to politics, having no prior elected experience.

PAAIA said Habib lost his eyesight to a rare form of cancer at the age of eight. A Bellevue native, Habib won a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University. He later attended Yale Law School, then returned to Washington after graduation.

Habib now works at Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie, where he serves the legal needs of local startups.

Habib, who campaigned door-to-door, said in July that his loss of eyesight was not a major obstacle in the race.

“If I can get around the New York subway system on my own, if I can go down and live in Guatemala and study Spanish on my own, I’m not worried about, you know, porch steps in Bridle Trails,” he said.  “I actually enjoy going door-belling a lot.”