January 2013

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Photo courtesy of Obama for America live In the Moment with Shiva Bidar-Sielaff A local politician relives her unexpected journey into office Throughout much of her career, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff described herself as enmeshed in the community. But as the director of community partnerships for the interpreter services department of the UW Hospital and Clinics, she admits she once scoffed at the idea of being involved in politics. ���I never thought I���d want to be an elected o���cial. I thought I���d be the one who sat back and complained about the decisionmaking,��� she says with a smile. But then, eight years ago, she found herself singing a new tune as she gathered with friends, anxiously awaiting the results of the 2008 presidential election. A native of Iran who is ���uent in four languages and has made a career out of communicating��� especially with minority populations��� Bidar-Sielaff���s Bidar-Sielaff was ���oored by the Secret Weapon image of the new president. What keeps Bidar-Sielaff ���I was so inspired [when going in life and grounded in Obama won], and I thought if her community? ���I couldn���t live [someone who looks like him] without the constant ���ow of coffee, can do it, I can too,��� she says. so I come here often [The Froth Soon after, Bidar-Sielaff House]. They have great coffee,��� made up her mind: she would says Bidar-Sielaff of the coffee house lying on North Allen run for city council. And in Street in the heart of April 2009, the political newDistrict 5. comer won her bid for representative of District 5. Since then, Bidar-Sielaff���s political career has continued to gain steam. In April 2012 she was unanimously elected as president of the City of Madison Common Council, and local politicos have publically wondered if she might one day make a run for the mayor���s o���ce. When re���ecting on her journey, BidarSielaff says that pivotal moment in 2008 remains fresh in her mind. This fall, she even got to meet the man whose own election had changed her life. ���I was like a giddy school girl; I just never imagined that the scared girl who ���ed Iran during the Islamic Revolution would one day grow up to meet the president of the United States,��� she says. January 2013 11

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