Sima Ladjevardian: Ensuring the American Dream for others
Sima Ladjevardian is running for United States Congressional District 2. When Sima was sixteen, her family immigrated to the United States to flee war during the Iranian Revolution. As an immigrant, Sima understands how important her American Dream was to her, bringing her to the “land of opportunity.” Sima is running to ensure that other folks have their shot at their own version of the American dream.
Sima was born and raised in Iran. Growing up, Sima always looked up to her grandmother who was one of the first women elected to the Iranian Congress (fun fact: Sima’s father was also an Iranian Congressperson). She remembers her grandmother standing up during a time when progress for women seemed impossible. For example, Sima recalled a law that automatically granted men custody of marital children after a divorce; women had no custodial rights. But this never deterred her grandmother. Her grandmother defied sexism and discrimination. She was a trailblazer. Though her grandmother was making headway for women, her family was unable to stay in Iran.
Sima vividly remembers one day being in class and feeling what she thought was an earthquake. When she stepped outside with other students, she saw people throwing acid and shooting at one another. The Iranian Revolution had begun, and her family had to flee war. At age sixteen, Sima and her family migrated to the United States in pursuit of the American dream.
After arriving in the United States, Sima remembers the initial difficulty of adapting to new customs. English would become her fourth language, which she practiced by watching Star Wars over and over. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree and law degree (fun fact: Sima graduated in the same law school class as Kamala Harris). She started to look up to women like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who, like Sima, fought for the rights of others.
Following the 2016 presidential election, Sima felt that it was her duty to enter the political scene. For years leading up to that election, Sima had been involved in her community but had never declared herself a “political” person. She wanted to join the momentum of a progressive revolution. She started to work on different campaigns, including Beto O’Rourke’s senatorial campaign where she served as a Senior Advisor. She also volunteered for other grassroots campaigns in Houston area. Then, in 2018, she filed to run for the U.S. Congressional District 2 seat, saying “I couldn’t not step up. This country has given me so much, Houston has given me so much”
Sima’s top priority throughout this campaign has been expanding accessible healthcare. More specifically, Sima wants to expand upon the Affordable Care Act, allowing for a stronger Medicare option. She draws inspiration from her own story as a breast cancer survivor. Sima believes that she understands what it takes to have great healthcare. During her battle with cancer, Sima had access to quality healthcare that covered a majority of her treatment. She recalled going to the pharmacy one time to pick up a prescription but leaving her insurance card at home. She had learned that the cost of this single pill was $1,000 without insurance coverage. This was eye opening for her. COVID will become a pre-existing condition, potentially affecting coverage for thousands of people. With the onset of the pandemic, Sima realizes how important affordable healthcare can be especially because of the increase in ill or unemployed folks in need of care and coverage.
Though this is Sima’s first personal campaign for office, she gained a tremendous amount of experience while working on Beto’s campaign. Sima picked up the importance of networking and speaking with every potential voter, regardless of their affiliation. She recognized the importance of “having your ears to the ground,” meaning having an understanding of what the community needs. Sima and her campaign organized advisory grounds on different issues or topics to learn more about what change folks want to see.
Ultimately, what matters most to Sima, is giving others the opportunity at the American dream. She feels grateful to have been given the chance to thrive in the land of opportunity and wants to ensure that others have that experience as well. Particularly, Sima wants every young girl to know that they are capable of doing whatever they dream of.
To learn more about Sima’s campaign, please visit www.simafortx.com.