The Indian American, a three-term state assembly delegate, eyes John Delaney’s seat.
Maryland Del. Aruna Miller will run for Congress from Maryland’s 6th congressional district, currently held by Democrat John Delaney.
The Indian-born Miller, who represents the state’s 15th district in the Maryland House of Delegates, filed a “Statement of Candidacy” form with the Federal Election Commission on May 4, which will enable her to raise money for the race.
Delaney, a wealthy banker and three-term congressman, is expected to run for governor next year. “Sometime in June, he is going to make a decision on what his future plans are. I had a personal conversation with him and he told me that he is leaning in the direction of not seeking re-election for the seat,” Miller told The American Bazaar.
“Number one, I want to make sure that it remains a Democratic seat as this is very important for the state of Maryland and the people of Maryland,” she said listing a number of reasons for her candidacy. “I have resided in the 6th district for over 14 years. I raised my family here. My daughters all went to public schools here, I worked here as well.”
Miller, a transportation engineer and a mother of three, said, as “a working mom,” she knows “what it’s like to balance work to raise children, to care for aging parents, and these are the struggles that the people of the 6th district face.”
She added: “I am no different than the average 6th district resident. And in my role as a member of Congress, I will be in a position to work putting in place policies that help working family.”
Miller said jobs, economy and infrastructure will be some of the issues she will be running. “I also want to focus on policies that help working families,” she said. “We no longer live in an era where there is only one bread winner, and that’s the male. In the 21st century, we have dual income families, and that means we need to take look at the labor policies. We have to help working families. They have to be able to take care of families and balance work.”
Another candidate who has signaled his intention to run is Miller’s colleague in the Maryland House and Majority Leader C. William Frick, who has also filed the “Statement of Candidacy” form with FEC.
Once Delaney announces his intention, more candidates are certain to jump into the fray. Asked about the possibility of running against other well-funded candidates in the primary next June, Miller said that “in any election there’re always challenges and good candidates that you have to run against, and that’s part of it.”
She added that “based on the information that I know of the candidates that are running,” she is the only candidate who lives in the 6th district. “I need to run my campaign on the needs of the people and not worry about who my opponents are, and how much money they have,” she said. “My focus is to see what I can do for the people of the 6th district.”
Asked how she would position herself in an election that is likely to be a referendum of President Trump, Miller said “Democrats have to work really hard to make sure that we take this opportunity to elect Democrats from the federal level, all the way down to the local level.”
The 6th district, which includes the wealthy DC suburb of Potomac, Frederic City, and Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties, is one of the most competitive districts in Maryland. It was in Republican hands until Delaney defeated the 11-term congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett in 2012 by more than 20 percentage points. However, in the next election his margin shrunk to fewer than 2,800. Last November, he won by more than 52,000 votes.
Miller first got elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in November 2010. She is a member of the Ways & Means Committee and its subcommittees on revenue, transportation, and education.
In the statehouse, she has championed women’s issues — she is a former chair of Women’s Caucus — and has sponsored or cosponsored bills to protect children and environment.
Miller is the second Indian American delegate from Maryland to run for Congress in two years. Last year, her colleague Kumar Barve had made an unsuccessful run from the neighboring 8th district.
Miller and her husband, David Miller, live in Darnestown, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.
Daughter of a mechanical engineer, who emigrated from Hyderabad, India, Miller came to the United States at the age of 7.
“I feel my country has given me so many opportunities, like many immigrants feel,” she told the Bazaar. “And I can think of no better way to give back to my country than to do public service. That’s why I spent my career, working for a local government as a transportation engineer. And that’s why I ran for Maryland state delegate in 2010 to be able to give back to the citizens of my country, to the residents that live in the state of Maryland.”
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