Meet Hadian, Republican candidate for governor - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Meet Hadian, Republican candidate for governor

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YAKIMA, Wash- One of the first things Shahram Hadian will say about himself is he's a Christian pastor and a former Muslim.  The republican gubernatorial candidate believes that matters.

"I'm not saying it's the only issue, but it's a foundational part of my story", says Hadian.

Hadian believes  voter's confusion about his religion and Iranian heritage, are the reason he didn't win his state congressional race last year. 

He's a Christian politician fighting against the perception that he is a Muslim because of his "Muslim-sounding name". Sounds like battle Barack Obama has been fighting for much of his political career.  Hadian doesn't think so.

"There's nothing similar between me and the president of the United States, he is not what he seems to be, I am exactly what I say I am", says Hadian.

As I did with candidate Rob McKenna two weeks ago, I asked Hadian how we should deal with our state budget crisis and it's trickle down effect that could pull half a million dollars from Yakima's funding.  He says fixing illegal immigration is key.

And where Rob McKenna has focused on getting a tougher gang law passed, Hadian isn't so sure that's the way to handle the problem.

"Problems don't need to be solved always by putting money at it or saying state government's going to work with community leaders saying "your community is at risk", he says.