Just as there is good, better, best, there is working, multi-tasking and …Melahat. In fact, she combines the two. Melahat Rafiei learned, from a very young age, that the more things you know, and the more things you can do, the better your chances in the world. In her case, it was also a matter of life and death.
In the spring of 1983, with little more than the clothes on their backs, Melahat’s family came to America, fleeing from political persecution in Iran amidst the uprising of a hostile, oppressive regime. After two treacherous months on the run in countries like Pakistan and Israel, the entire family was granted political asylum to the United States through the American Embassy in Rome, Italy. Five year old Melahat saw, firsthand, how important it was that her parents were flexible and able to think on their feet. Clearly embracing diversity was a survival skill.
This knowledge stood her in good stead as she and her family lived and worked in various places around California as she grew up, searching for their place in American dream. Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that Melahat began to gravitate toward political activism and advocacy– who has input into decision making matters. A lot. Her belief in democracy and the power of our citizens is passionate and informs the direction she has taken personally and professionally.
Melahat first became active in progressive politics in 2003 while working for the Dean for America campaign, during which she became increasingly responsible for the local campaign, fundraising, events and overall organization. She has also worked for the Voter Registration and Education Fund, consulted for The National Iranian-American Council and is a spokesperson to the media who is able to discuss politics and public policy issues important to the Democratic Party.
Her hard work and dedication have also been rewarded by her election to the Democratic National Committee. Melahat is the first Iranian-American to have earned this honor.
Melahat has a long and proven record of success in managing public outreach, awareness, fund-development and issue-based advocacy campaigns for nonprofits, candidates for public office, and business. She is the Principal and founder of Progressive Solutions Consulting, a premier political consulting and fundraising firm based in Long Beach, California, founded in 2010.
Her unique experience and skills lead her to always be looking ahead, to what will be of increasing importance. Most recently, this has meant immersing herself in every aspect of the future of cannabis in the US. Having discovered its medical value in her own life, Melahat did what she does best – she set out to learn everything there was to know about cannabis and its future uses, and then looked at how she could best make a positive contribution. Not surprisingly, she is now recognized as a leading expert in many areas. She has expanded her professional world to include an advocacy division dedicated to cannabis issues.
As a part of her efforts, she is a co-founder of WeCann, which is rapidly becoming the “go to” firm for everything cannabis, from dispensary licensing, to property search assistance to public advocacy at all levels.
Her skills and work ethic have seen her win many awards, including recognition by the California State Assembly and the US House of Representatives, The John F. Kennedy, Jr. Award from the California Democratic Party for service to the Democratic Party, Orange County Young Democrats Mentor of the Year, and the Democratic Foundation of Orange County’s Howard Adler Award for Excellence in the Art and Science of Politics.