Aneesh Chopra enters race for Virginia’s Lt. Governor

Campaign submits more than 20,000 petitions.

Bureau Report

WASHINGTON, DC: Aneesh Chopra, the former Chief Technology Officer of the United States — the first post of its kind when he took over in 2009 after being appointed by President Barack Obama — has formally entered the race for Virginia Lieutenant Governor.

Aneesh Chopra. Photo credit: TeamChopra.org
Aneesh Chopra. Photo credit: TeamChopra.org

Chopra’s campaign for Virginia Lieutenant Governor submitted 20,630 petition signatures to qualify for ballot access in the June Democratic Primary. The minimum number of signatures required to appear on the ballot is 10,000. Chopra’s campaign also surpassed the requirement of at least 400 signatures from each of the Commonwealth’s 11 congressional districts.

“This is a credit to the grassroots network that drives this campaign,” Chopra said upon delivering his petition signatures. “This is just one step along the road to victory, but I am incredibly proud of our efforts across the Commonwealth. Today wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated and hardworking supporters and volunteers.”

He added: “I decided to run for Lieutenant Governor because I firmly believe that our state government can be smarter, faster, better, and fairer for all Virginians. This is a message that is resonating across the Commonwealth, and I look forward to engaging with more Virginians on it in the coming months.”

Chopra’s move was on expected lines after he had set up a campaign to run for office. Last week, he had issued a statement to expand access to Medicaid in Virginia.

“We must get this done. Governor McDonnell’s March 5th letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is a troubling sign for what many thought was a deal on Medicaid expansion,” said Chopra, arguing for a bipartisan move to rally around for it. “It’s time for Democrats and Republicans to come together and renew the pressure on the Governor to expand Medicaid. It’s too important to let this opportunity slip away. We can’t let partisan extremists put the health of hundreds of thousands of Virginians at risk.”

Chopra had also lashed out at his GOP rival in the upcoming elections.

“An example of this extremism came today when Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate Pete Snyder claimed that “it’s actually better to be uninsured than to be on Medicaid.” This claim is simply not true, and shows the lengths to which the current field of candidates will go to push their agenda,” said Chopra.

“The truth is that expanding Medicaid means 300,000 fewer uninsured Virginians — a reduction of more than 37%. It also means those 300,000 people would gain access to preventative care. That access will not only improve people’s quality of lives, it also will save lives,” said Chopra.

The son of immigrants from India in Trenton, New Jersey, Chopra has spent his life focusing on education and innovation. His father immigrated to the United States in 1966, and enrolled in the engineering program at Villanova University. He would go on to earn three patents for his work in the refrigeration industry. His mother began a career as an entry-level clerk and worked her way up to become a financial project manager.

Chopra attended Johns Hopkins University and then the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. After graduate school, he worked in the private sector, including a job at the Advisory Board Company – a healthcare think tank dedicated to helping hospitals better serve patients. While at the Advisory Board Company, Governor Mark Warner appointed him to several councils and commissions. Through this work, Chopra decided he wanted to pursue his lifelong dream of entering public service. He began full-time service to the Commonwealth when Governor Tim Kaine tapped him to serve as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology.

In 2009, based on his record of success in Virginia, Obama appointed Chopra as the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer. In this role, he was charged with promoting innovation to address the nation’s most urgent priorities — from creating jobs to reducing health care costs and keeping the nation secure.

Upon Aneesh’s departure to run for office, President Obama said, “his legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service.”

Chopra lives in Arlington with his wife, Rohini, and their two daughters.

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