Editor’s Note: myBurbank will be highlighting the upcoming election in two areas, first candidate profiles to give you some background on each candidate, and second will be a series of questions on each issue. We will run a new profile each day and the question/answer part will run after they are completed.
Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised right here in Burbank, but I am ethnically Armenian. I really enjoyed growing up in our city’s diverse community where I was able to celebrate my culture and learn about other cultures as well.
What was the most memorable or character-building part of your upbringing?
I remember having a conversation with my dad when I was younger about what I wanted to be when I grew up. He told me that no matter what I chose to do, I needed to be sure I was helping someone and making a positive impact on their life. I’ve carried that advice with me through every aspect of my life, taking on leadership roles in various organizations and volunteering. I hope to take my experiences and apply it on Burbank City Council to improve our city.
How long have you been in Burbank?
I’ve spent the last 22 years walking up and down these streets. I learned how to ride a bike on Angeleno Avenue, studied for hours at the Burbank Central Library, and spent summers with friends at McCambridge pool. Burbank is the only place I’ve ever known as home.
What drew you to the City of Burbank?
The more time I spend here, the more I understand why my parents chose to settle in Burbank. This city has everything you could ever ask for. The community is friendly and welcoming. The small businesses, like Geeky Teas and Games in Magnolia Park, add a unique charm you really cannot find anywhere else. There are beautiful parks and hiking trails accessible to everyone. I’ve lived here my whole life and there are still new places I’m discovering. It’s just a great place to live.
What are some of your interests/hobbies?
I love hiking and running. It’s usually something I do early in the morning when it’s still cold out and there aren’t a lot of cars. My dad has been an avid hiker for as long as I can remember, so I think that’s where I get it from. We usually go through Wildwood Canyon and the views are always so rewarding.
In my downtime, my favorite thing to do is read. I’ve always loved reading, but it was my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. DeVirgilis, who really taught us how much knowledge you can gain through novels. I don’t think there’s been a period of time where I’m not reading something since then.
What motivated you to run for office?
I have two reasons for running. First, I have always been an activist for the causes I believe in. From a young age, my parents would take me to civil rights rallies, women’s rights protests, and Armenian Genocide marches. It wasn’t until this past year that I realized the greatest way I could affect change is through policy and political reform. Secondly, I want to increase youth participation in local government. Marching alongside hundreds of young people during our city’s peaceful BLM protests showed me that the youth of Burbank wants to be involved in creating a better society. Currently, there is no youth representation in our City Council. I hope to be that voice and inspire others in my generation to become more involved as well.
Is there anything else you’d like Burbank residents to know about you?
Burbank needs a fresh, new perspective to local politics – one that I plan to bring. I am young, energetic, and passionate about issues that affect our city. Together, let’s make Burbank’s future brighter. Check out my website, sharismanokian4burbank.com, for more information about our plans for the city.