Costa Mesa resident — and former campaign manager — Hengameh “Henny” Abraham is vying to reclaim the seat her former boss lost in 2022.

Abraham, who served on former Assemblymember Steve Choi’s reelection campaign, is running for the 73rd Assembly district represented by Irvine Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris. The AD-73 race was the only local contest last year to feature two incumbents after redistricting shuffled boundaries and candidates.

“It was a wonderful experience, and I learned a lot about state legislation,” Abraham said of her work on Choi’s campaign. And it was that experience that “definitely motivated” her to jump into the race.

The Iranian American Engagement Director for the OC GOP decried what she describes as a lack of representation in Sacramento — both with a supermajority in control of politics and a lack of Iranian Americans representing diverse districts like Irvine.

“I’m the female minority, I’m 36 years old, Iranian-born and an immigrant myself,” Abraham said. “This district, because of Irvine, has the highest Iranian constituents out of all other Assembly districts. It’s time for a true representation of the community.”

Another catalyst for Abraham’s foray into the race was legislation introduced this year to give minors as young as 12 increased opportunities to consent to mental health treatments. Abraham contends legislators are attempting to “exclude parents’ rights from their children’s lives.”

“That was the moment for me,” Abraham said. “Seeing how the school and teachers’ union were trying to take over being the sole and primary decision makers for school-aged children.”

Her main priorities are lowering taxes, advocating for educational funding and supporting the small business community, particularly post-pandemic.

Abraham, who came to Orange County from Iran when she was 14, said she’s observed the Republican Party becoming more diverse over the years to include more of the younger generations, minority groups and the LGBTQ+ community.

“The era of the Republican Party being the party of old, white men is long gone,” she said. “So I think being a minority female and a Republican brings fresh perspective to the party.”

“Being a Republican to me means that I stand for freedom, it means that I am all for the power of the people over big government, for liberty, for the pursuit of happiness,” Abraham said. “It’s being able to make decisions as individuals instead of the government telling us what to do.”

Petrie-Norris — who represents the district that covers Costa Mesa, Irvine and Tustin — was first elected in 2018 and will run for reelection in 2024. Democrats have a near 14% voter registration advantage in the district, according to the latest official state registration reports.

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