EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 24, 2012

'Where else but America?'

From immigrant from war-torn Pakistan to state representative

SEABROOK — On Dec. 5, when Aboul Khan takes the oath of office as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, it will be a remarkable step on a journey that’s taken him from civil war in his native Bangladesh to the No. 1 vote-getter in November’s election.

Khan, 52, earned 2,644 votes in Seabrook’s Nov. 6 election that brought out 78 percent of town voters. More Seabrook voters cast their ballots for Khan than for either presidential candidates Romney or Obama, or for gubernatorial candidates Ovide Lamontagne or now governor-elect Maggie Hassan.

When pointed out to Khan, he smiles and thanks Seabrook voters for having faith and confidence in his ability to represent them well in the State House.

“I just always try to do what I can to help people,” Khan said. “I cannot say enough about Seabrook voters. They’re wonderful. I’m so proud.”

It isn’t the first time voters put Khan in responsible roles. They elected him to the planning and budget committees, and he’s serving his second term on the Board of Selectmen.

When this convenience store owner, husband, father, and extremely proud naturalized citizen stood at the polls the night residents first chose him as their selectman, he said this is a nation like no other.

“I still feel that way,” Khan said. “There is no where else where someone like me, born in another country, could come, run for office and be elected. It’s amazing.”

According to Khan, his experiences growing up in what was then East Pakistan and now Bangladesh, leads him to treasure the United States. America has its challenges, he said, but here no one asked him what his religion is or what caste he’s from. Khan said that’s why the United States is still the hope of so many seeking the one thing that makes it unique.

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