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Farrah Douglas





Rick and Farrah Douglas
Rick and Farrah Douglas
Conservative Republican Farrah Douglas is running for the 76th State Assembly District. The district comprises Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Encinitas, and Camp Pendleton and is currently represented by Assembly Member Martin Garrick who is not seeking reelection due to term limits. Garrick is endorsing Douglas as a campaign co-chairman.

Douglas is currently a councilwoman for the city of Carlsbad and is a local business owner. She is founder and CEO of CDS Printing in Carlsbad. She's also the first American of Iranian descent to be elected to public office in San Diego County. She, her husband Rick, and their son fled Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In three decades she built a strong company and a won a seat on the City Council as one of the highest voter-getters in Carlsbad history.

In a press release from Douglas' campaign, Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall states: "I have worked closely with Farrah on the City Council and have been impressed with her approach to government and her ability to bring people together to find solutions. ... I am committed to Farrah’s campaign and know she will be an impact-player in Sacramento."


The winter day the shah fled Iran, Farrah Douglas was trapped in gridlocked traffic with her American husband, Rick, and their 2-year-old son, Kevin.

They had just been at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran to apply for Farrah’s green card for an eventual move to America. The Islamic revolution had caught them by surprise.

“Everyone got out of their cars and started dancing, they were so happy,” she told me. A young Iranian stuck his head in the window and said to Rick, “After the shah, it’s your turn.”

Farrah thought to herself, “This is the end of my country as I know it.”

The family made it home that day – Jan. 16, 1979 – to learn that Iranian boys armed with machine guns had been looking for the American. Rick, an employee of Bell Helicopter whom Farrah met while working as a government translator, went into hiding at a friend’s apartment. “I didn’t see him for two months,” Farrah said.

At night, Farrah and her mother watched on television the torture and execution of the shah’s generals, some of whom Farrah knew.

Fleeing was complicated and dangerous. The new regime had decreed that no children born in Iran would be allowed out of the country.

“I was crying all the time,” Farrah said. “We were stuck. Everybody else had left.”

Finally, the U.S. Embassy, which had not yet been invaded, contacted Farrah with a scheme to get the family out of Iran.

Rick’s American passport and visa would be altered to show Kevin’s birthplace as Dallas, not Tehran. They would take a special Pan American flight operated by volunteers. They would fly separately, not as husband and wife. Farrah would say she was visiting a sick sister in the United States.

Farrah packed a suitcase with old clothes and threw in a photograph of the shah honoring her work as a young journalist. She hid jewelry in a diaper bag. At a hotel, she joined Rick and a group of Americans connected to the embassy.

At the airport, Farrah waited in a line apart from Rick and Kevin. Suddenly, a soldier – “He was one of the Arabs in an Arafat-style headband” – pulled Farrah, the only Iranian, out of the line.

Inside a small room, she was told to sit down and surrender the passport with her maiden name. An official kept her passport open with a cup of tea as he consulted huge books filled with names.

“I’m done, I’m gone,” she thought. “He was going to find out that I worked for the Iranian government, that I had a security clearance. That last look of Kevin would be the last I would see of him.”

After consulting the books for what seemed like hours, the official tossed the passport to her and told her to go.

“My knees were shaking. I couldn’t get up. He took a lot of enjoyment in seeing me that way. I was sweating, shivering. I was pale. I held on to the chair and the walls. Any minute, I thought, he is going to realize he made a mistake.”

After a cursory search of her suitcase in which the photograph with the shah was fortunately overlooked, she joined the passengers as they walked to the plane on the rain-slicked tarmac. Armed Iranian guards stood by. The American women worried out loud that they’d be shot on the runway.

On the plane, the passengers endured yet another inspection from armed guards who ordered an Asian woman with an American passport off the plane. Her husband protested but could do nothing. “The guy was going crazy,” Farrah said.

Finally, the jet lifted off. Looking out the window, Farrah saw “fires burning all over the place.”

“This is probably the last time I’ll see my country,” she thought.

The Pan Am pilot came on the intercom and said Iranian military jets were flying beside the airliner. Once again, panic broke out. “People were holding Bibles over their heads.”

A couple of hours later, the plane landed in Turkey and restocked the provisions that had been confiscated by the Iranians. When the group landed in Germany, “everybody was drunk.” After a CIA debriefing, the Douglas family flew to the United States.

After a brief stay to visit family in Rochester, N.Y., the Douglases accepted an invitation to vacation with friends in California. Arriving late at night, they woke up to breakfast, then went on an outing to a Carlsbad beach.

As Kevin played in the sand, Farrah and Rick looked at each and agreed: This looks like home.


For 20 years, Farrah has made the most of her opportunities as a new American.

She and Rick own and operate a printing business in Carlsbad. Many of her family members have moved close by. A dynamo at the Chamber of Commerce, she serves on some 10 community boards. And now she’s running for the 76th State Assembly District.



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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024