Anila Ali

Pakistani American Anila Ali, a lifelong educator who has taught for 20 years at the middle and high school levels, is running for a city council seat in Irvine, Calif., the city she has called home since 1996. (Facebook photo)

Anila Ali, a Pakistani American who has called Irvine, Calif., her home since 1996, announced she is running for a council seat for the Southern California city.

Fully entrenched in the community, Ali, with her husband and two children, hopes to provide kids with the best education possible.

An educator herself, Ali did her postgraduate studies at Concordia University and followed it up by teaching at the middle and high school levels.

According to her campaign page, Ali has advocated for Irvine’s children, youth and families, and served on the board for the city’s Public School Foundation.

“Yes, education is my forte, however, the entire experience of living in Irvine provides each one of us with the opportunity of multicultural family lifestyle in a global city,” she said on her website.

She added that the city is a “leader” in the 21st century with booming business, commitment to recreation, art, craft, environmental awareness, community and philanthropic involvement.

“These are the elements of a model city. This is what Irvine residents say they love and cherish about Irvine, and I do too,” she added.

As a candidate for the city council, Ali is focused on three major issues: safety, business and education.

In terms of safety, Ali said Irvine's status as the safest city in the United States is a title "we want to shout from the rooftops."

She went on to say that, for 11 years, Irvine continues to be one of the safest cities for populations over 200,000 citizens and the safest city for the last two years consecutively, and claims she is the best candidate to keep the city safe.

"As a member of President Obama’s panel on Controlling Violent Extremism, I am in constant contact with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, interfaith leaders and community leaders worldwide," she explains on her site. "Safety is directly correlated to the lifestyle we share here in Irvine. I am well poised to be the Irvine City Council member that will maintain our extraordinary lifestyle and safety.

Regarding business, which she dubbed "the lifeblood of a community," Ali believes Irvine has grown from the early days as an agricultural community to today's thriving center for technology and retail business.

"The strength of our business community creates the financial backbone for the lifestyle that we enjoy in Irvine. Irvine is the economic engine that drives Southern California.”

Ali is a teacher of 20 years, thus the importance of education on her campaign platform. She stressed that innovation, creativity and the arts must enhance the highest level of learning in language, science and technology.

“Our beautifully diverse multicultural community provides and must be encouraged to complement our academic curriculum,” she said.

Ali stressed that the city is at a “critical juncture” with the council divided, struggling to act on behalf of the residents. The city council, she added, has to be accountable for the citizens, going on to promise them her commitment to demonstrating accountability by holding forums and community meetings.

Ali’s father was a journalist and her mother a teacher, which she combined into her skillset. The Karachi, Pakistan, native has served as the Orange County chair of the International Leadership Forum, working to inspire youth to see the value of civic and political leadership.

Additionally, Ali was honored with President Barack Obama’s Excellence in Volunteerism Award, as well as by the Los Angeles Police Department’s counter-terrorism unit and the LA Sheriff’s Department for her efforts to support safe communities.

She has also authored the children’s book, “Mommy, Am I A…,” in response to bullying towards children who are unaware of differences in faith and culture.

The Irvine City Council election is Nov. 8.

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