Farrah N. Khan

Mayor | Irvine, CA

Farrah N. KhanTell us about your background. What are the experiences, including education, that make up the person you currently are?

I grew up in San Francisco/Bay Area, went to school at UC Davis, worked my way to being a Regulatory Affairs Manager for a biotech company, then transitioned to being a small business owner, followed by being hired as the Executive Director for a local non-profit which led me to community work, and eventually running for office.

What was your trigger moment and why this specific office?

My trigger moment was when someone told me that the City I lived in wasn’t ready for diversity in leadership and with a name like mine, I was unelectable. I have always loved local office because of the direct contact you have with the community.

What made you feel qualified to run for office?

I had corporate management skills, ran a small business, and lead a non-profit.

Do you work full-time or part-time?


Most people don’t know what their elected official does on a daily basis. What’s a typical day looking like for you?

There is no typical day, but I’ll tell you even as a part-time position, I find myself putting in full-time hours. My day starts at 7 am reviewing emails/glancing over social media, then any combination of meetings/briefings/calls, special events, ribbon cuttings, reviewing documents for board meetings/council meetings. The day ends typically around midnight as I follow up on more emails/social media.

Additionally, they might not know what their elected official is responsible for. What is your role in comparison to other elected offices on your level?

As Mayor, I’m responsible for adopting legislation, setting policy, adjudicating issues, and establishing the city budget. I also work to build relationships with state and federal legislators.

What do you think people would be surprised to know someone in your position does?

We actually set the contract for things like trash pick-up to advocate for funding to support local issues from the state or federal government.

What are 3-5 skills needed to be successful in the elected office you served in/are currently serving in?

The desire to serve the public, a knowledge of the community you want to serve, and great listening skills.

What’s the best part about serving in elected office?

Helping community members.

What has been the accomplishment you’re most proud of while in office?

In my first term as Councilmember, I initiated Orange County’s first CCA which launched in Dec of 2020.

In terms of finances, how much money did you have to raise for your campaign?

For Mayor, approximately $140k.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s thinking about running for the position you serve/have served in their community?

Don’t run for the title, run because you have something to offer that will benefit others.