Local man taking active role in Dean campaign

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Muhammad Rahman was busy. By 7:30 p.m. Saturday, a long line of cars parked along Village Drive marked the way to his house.

Inside, guests fought off the hot July evening, mingling between the kitchen and living room. Children scurried up and down the stairs and teen-agers gathered in the hallway.

Rahman zoomed back and forth, wiping sweat from his brow as he greeted guests and took some ribbing from friends.

"You voted for George Bush?" Rony Shahidaim, a college professor, asked in surprise.

Rahman, a native of Bangladesh, explained to his friend he is a registered Democrat, but voted for Bush in the last election. The two men shared a laugh.

Shahidaim was only joking with Rahman, but, Rahman said, he is serious about supporting Vermont governor and presidential hopeful Howard Dean this time around. The party at his home was part birthday celebration - for Rahman's 1-year-old daughter - and part political rally.

The majority of the guests were natives of Bangladesh, who came to the U.S. as immigrants. Some, Rahman said, never have gotten interested in American politics or don't vote.

Tired of the Bush administration and interested in getting more Southeast Asians to take an active role in politics, Rahman said he decided to coincide his daughter's birthday celebration with a Howard Dean informational party.

He said he was expecting around 100 guests - counting the children who were there for his daughter's birthday.

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