As an immigrant whose family benefitted from the refuge and opportunity that the United States offers so many, Sarmad M. Khojasteh always has felt compelled to serve his country. And, while the current state of political discourse has driven many very qualified and hard-working Americans away from public service and political engagement, for Sarmad, it has raised the stakes.
Sarmad is running to represent the 37th New York State Senate District because he believes that by replacing career politicians with independent-minded, practical problem solvers in Albany we can put the American Dream back within reach of all New Yorkers.
Sarmad was born in Iran in 1981, and emigrated to the United States in the Summer of 1982 after the Islamic Revolution and during the Iran-Iraq War. The Khojasteh family settled in Poughkeepsie in 1983, where Sarmad’s father worked as a polymer chemist for IBM and his mother worked as commercial layout designer. The Khojasteh family also ran a small business in Peekskill for twenty-five years.
Educated in local public schools, Sarmad graduated from Colgate University (B.A. cum laude) and went on to earn his J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School where he was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review.
In college, Sarmad served as a congressional intern to the Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, and as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Later, during law school, Sarmad served in the Office of the Vice Chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States in Washington, D.C. and founded and led the local chapter of a voter’s rights organization, and coordinated with the Board of Elections of the City of Chicago to train law students to serve as poll workers for the 2004 Presidential Election.
Sarmad also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Terrence W. Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina, and practiced at a global law firm where he advised clients on leveraged buyout transactions, initial public offerings, and debt financings, prior to joining his current firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, where he is a partner.
His current law practice focuses on complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts, and in proceedings before state and federal regulatory agencies. Sarmad’s notable representations include representing the Federal Housing Finance Agency under the Obama Administration in recovering $1.25 billion for taxpayers from Morgan Stanley, and then-candidate Donald J. Trump in litigation against efforts by the New York Times and the Gannett newspaper chain to make public the contents of sealed court filings relating to Trump’s divorce from his ex-wife Ivana Trump.
Sarmad also has represented Iranians in connection with their political asylum applications, including an Iranian journalist accused of treason and an Iranian student fearing persecution based on his sexual orientation.
He serves on the board of Abraham House, an affiliated member organization of Catholic Charities of New York, which provides a holistic, family-based program of reentry services to first-time criminal offenders and their families, and other families who struggle to cope with poverty, violence, crime, and lack of essential services.
Sarmad also previously served as a National Security Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C., and was selected to participate in the Foreign Policy Initiative’s New York Leaders Program.
Sarmad and his wife, Anjella, live in Bedford, where they are raising their two young children, Aubtin and Yara, and their dog, Tux.