Mansimran Singh Kahlon hopes to become first Sikh American elected to a state legislature

The Democrat is running for Virginia House of Delegates from the 13th District.

Mansimran Singh Kahlon (second from right), Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates from the 13th District, with his family at the 2017 Punjabi Mela held on Mother’s Day at the Bull Run Regional Park in Virginia.

Indian-born Virginia Democrat Mansimran Singh Kahlon is running for the Virginia House of Delegates from the 13th District, which encompasses largely Gainesville and Manassas Park in Prince William County.

“Currently, there is no Sikh in any state elected office or state legislature in the entire country,” he said. Primary elections for the Virginia House of Delegates are scheduled for June 13 and statewide elections will be held on November 7.

Kahlon is a resident of Gainesville, and has always lived in Northern Virginia since he came to the US from India as a child, three years old, in 1996. He attended Rutgers University after Centreville High School, and is now a local business owner who runs a trucking company.

If elected, he will be one of very few state representatives born in India. Delegate Aruna Miller, who represents the 15th District in Montgomery County, Maryland, and will be running for Congress from the 6th District in 2018, was born in Hyderabad.

Kahlon is hoping to unseat Bob Marshall, a 24-year Republican incumbent in a District, which is over 60 percent white and about 11 percent Asian. He is undeterred.

“I’m really passionate about serving our community and the general community,” he told us, adding they are not being served by the current General Assembly. The top 10 priorities of residents are not compatible with the top 100 legislation drawn every year by the 66 majority of Republicans in the 100-seat Virginia House of Delegates, he lamented.

People are not being served, Kahlon reiterated. “With President Trump in office, more so,” he said, mentioning the “healthcare fiasco and the debacle going on right now” whereby over 20 million people are at risk of losing their coverage and those with pre-existing conditions will be left in the lurch.

Kahlon also spoke about the upswing in racial attacks on Indian-Americans and other minorities and the divisive rhetoric, directed in large part against Muslims.

“If people are going after others right now, what makes us think that we are not being targeted,” he said. “Sikhs have been targeted post 9/11. It’s time we stand up for not only ourselves, but others. Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, all have to realize that we are all stronger together, not divided. There are many forces out there trying to divide us. Together, we can accomplish legislation that is aimed at making our lives easier, and that of our neighbors.”

“I never put the interests of my community above or below others – we are all the same,” he emphasized. “We all have the same vision where our kids can walk the cul-de-sac without the fear of the pigment of their skin.”

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