Rafi Manoukian immigrated to the United States (Los Angeles, California) in 1975, from Beirut, Lebanon with his parents and three brothers. After High School, Rafi joined the United States Air Force in 1978 at the age 17. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and received the Air Force Commendation Medal for work above and beyond the call of duty. Discharged Honorably in 1982. During his four years in the military Rafi received an Associate in Arts Degree from Miami Dade Community College. Afterwards, Rafi continued his education at California State University, Northridge receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 1984. He received Certified Public Accountant certification in 1991 and founded Manoukian Accountancy Corporation in 1993. He went on to receive a MBA from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2004. Rafi married Zovig Sepetjian in 1987, and they have three children.
Rafi has been active in the local community for many years. He served on the Board of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce in 1998-99 as well as on the Board of Glendale Youth Alliance. In 1997 was awarded the Glendale Unified School District Burtis E. Taylor Education Award for helping with the passage of Measure K School Bond. He served on the Measure K School Bond Committee in 1997-98.
Rafi was elected to the Glendale City Council in April 1999 after a unique campaign of registering over 4000 new citizens and was re-elected in 2003 with the most votes of any council candidate up to that period. On the Council, he served as Chair of the Housing Authority, the Redevelopment Agency and assumed the duties of Glendale Mayor in 2002-03 and 2005-06. As Mayor, he Chaired the 2005 Relay for Life event raising over $100,000 for cancer research. Was voted by the community as Best Politician in 2005. Rafi was honored in 2006 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation, by being awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which is given to immigrants that have made outstanding contributions to the United States . Although Glendale’s City Council is non-partisan, Rafi is a member of the Democratic Party. Rafi sits on the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Commission and was elected to a third term on the Glendale City Council on April 5, 2011.