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Growth in young, diverse candidates in GOP highlighted by Adam Khan’s candidacy for Nevada Assembly

Written By | May 27, 2014

RENO, Nevada, MAY 26, 2014 — The image that Democrats love to portray of the GOP as greedy, uncaring, old white men is quickly crumbling. For example, possible minority Republican presidential candidates for president in 2016 include: hispanic Sen. Ted Cruz, hispanic Sen. Marco Rubio, black neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Indian governor Bobby Jindal, and more. Even the possible white candidates are young and exciting like Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Paul Ryan, and Gov. Scott Walker. The possible field for the Democrats in 2016 is about as diverse as the prime time lineups at MSNBC and CNN – all old white guys except for one – Hillary Clinton, an old white woman.

This trend is not just a national phenomenon, as many Republican candidates and representatives in state governments are becoming increasingly younger and more diverse. As the GOP is welcoming, whether the Washington elite like it or not, a more libertarian philosophy characterized by an embrace of decreasing the size and scope of the federal government, candidates of all races, ages, and sexes will continue to jump on board.

23-year-old Pakistani-American Adam Khan ( is a perfect example of this rising class of young and diverse GOP superstars. Khan is running to represent Nevada’s 30th District in the State Assembly. If he wins his primary on June 10 he would be the youngest Republican to ever win a contested primary in Nevada and if he were to win the general election in November he would become the youngest sitting legislator in the Assembly or Senate, he would also be the first Pakistani-American to be elected to either body.

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But what exactly motivated Khan to get into politics, and especially at such a young age? Khan gave three major reasons for doing so, all of which stem from issues that have personally impacted his life.

Firstly, Khan says that he was taught from a very young age about the opportunity that American society provided for and his parents constantly encouraged him to take full advantage of those opportunities. Khan is a first generation American whose father immigrated from Pakistan in 1976 to search for a better life. His father worked three jobs upon their arrival in America and eventually his hard work paid off and now Khan’s family members are small business owners who provide the same opportunity they were given to many others.

Khan says that he has always been greatly inspired by his parents story and the appreciation his parents developed for American society, especially in contrast to the oppressiveness and complete inability to climb the social ladder that defined his father’s home country of Pakistan. “As a child, my father told me harsh stories about the country he grew up in- worrying if there was going to be enough food, or if it was safe to go outside. His stories are a constant reminder of how blessed we are to live in this great country.”

Khan’s concern that the ability to climb the social ladder in the same or similar manner that his father did when he arrived in Nevada over 40 years ago is slowly being decimated by the further and continuous centralization of the economy in the federal government. That is why one of Khan’s main reasons for getting  involved in Nevada politics was to fight to preserve the American dream for many generations of Nevadans to come by decentralizing power from the federal government as much as possible. “We need to allow future generations of Nevadans the same opportunity that my family had. We need an economy that let’s businesses open their doors, and that won’t punish them for succeeding and providing Nevadans with better, cheaper and more efficient products and services.”

Khan’s main concern is the preservation of the American dream and the following two issues are directly related to that concern.

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The second reason Khan got into politics is the awful state of public education in Nevada and specifically the disadvantage that many students, particularly minority students, were harnessed with after graduating or dropping out of this failed system. The current system forces parents to send their children to the school in which they are zoned, and in most cases, the schools that are zoned to lower socioeconomic neighborhoods are much worse than their alternatives that cater to wealthier neighborhoods. This leads to a huge deficit in knowledge and work ethic for the already disadvantaged students in poor areas.

Khan said, “I believe that improving the public school system in Nevada by expanding choice and furthering the growth of charter schools represents the civil rights issue of our generation and I vow to fight to allow parents more control over their children’s education and to expand options for parents who cannot afford to move to a richer neighborhood.”

He continued,  “This is the issue of our generation, and one that I am very passionate about. We can not expect a better Nevada if we don’t tend to the ills in our public school system. Our politicians continue the same approaches yet expect different outcomes; They are doubling down on these failed policies and I find it absolutely crazy that the current politicians are gambling with the future of this state. ”

The final issue that motivated Khan to throw his hat into the political ring is the high unemployment rate in the country, and particularly in Nevada – which has one of the very highest in the nation. Khan says that the Nevada state government does an awful job of trying to alleviate the unemployment problem, which also disproportionately affects the minority population in the state.

Khan believes that there are things that are politically difficult that the legislature could do that could help to alleviate this problem and he promises to take that fight to the legislature when he gets elected. “Nevadans realize that only the free market will be able to provide sustainable job growth-now we just need to get our elected officials to realize that. I promise to focus my efforts like a laser on alleviating this problem once I am elected to the State Assembly.”

In general, Khan believes that the reason that the GOP has seen such a steep and fairly immediate rise in the diversity in age and culture in candidates and supporters is the revival of the republican party’s core tenants of small government, and individualism and support for the free market.

“Most people are republican. Most people believe in personal responsibility. They believe in human rights. They believe that they know how to spend their money better than some bureacrat in Washington D.C or Carson City. These are republican ideals, and when republicans stick to their beliefs, we see more and more Americans voting to uphold these values and beliefs.”

Khan believes that the change in the GOP will continue to encourage other young and diverse candidates to get involved and help change the course of the federal and state governance. He was strongly influenced by young and diverse officials like Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The Democrat party no longer stands up for the little guy. Democrats now stand for Wall Street rather than main street and have absolutely nothing to offer other than failed economic policies rebranded and repackaged, which have had a devastating impact on the poor and minority communities, and the American people are beginning to figure this out.

Democrats will continue to push the meme that the GOP is full of rich, old, white racist men but that line of attack becomes weaker and less credible with the election of rising superstars in the GOP like Adam Khan, who vows to change the poor state of Nevada politics once he is elected to represent Nevada’s 30th District in the State Assembly.

James Richard

James Edwards is a tireless advocate for federalism and minimizing the impact the federal government has on all of our lives.