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Krish Vignarajah: why I am running for Maryland governor

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Krishanti Vignarajah
Krishanti Vignarajah

“I hope to be a representative for the South Asian American community as Governor,” says Krish Vignarajah, a candidate for Democratic Governor of Maryland.

My name is Krish Vignarajah, and I’m running for Democratic Governor of Maryland. Thirty-eight years ago to the month, my family moved to Maryland from Sri Lanka. We fled a civil war, leaving our entire family behind. We showed up here with nothing but each other: just two kids, two parents, and $200 in our pockets.

Soon, my parents became Baltimore City Public School teachers, instilling in my brother and me the importance of a quality education. Just last year, my father Ely Vignarajah retired from Western High School in Baltimore as the oldest teacher in the state of Maryland. Placing such a priority on education is what got me from Woodlawn High School to the White House. And that is why such a central focus of my campaign has been improving the public education system in Maryland.

RELATED: South Asian American Krishanti Vignarajah enters Maryland governor’s race (August 11, 2017)

I know this story and these values resonate with many of my South Asian brothers and sisters here in Maryland as well. Those of you who came here with very little, but worked hard against all odds to make it in this country. I understand firsthand the struggles our community has faced to arrive at where we are, and I am so proud to be a part of this flourishing community today. And I want my daughter Alana and your children to continue thriving here in the United States.

That’s why I support progressive policies including:

(1) Fully funding Maryland’s public schools and guaranteeing universal pre-kindergarten

(2) Making Maryland the most immigrant-friendly state in America

(3) Providing affordable, high quality healthcare through a state-run public option

RELATED: Krishanti Vignarajah breastfeeds in campaign ad for Maryland governor (March 22, 2018)

(4) Reducing gun violence in our schools with stricter firearms regulation

(5) Building a 21st century transportation system to reduce traffic

(6) Reducing economic hardship and neglect of seniors by improving benefits

(7) Enacting community policing to reduce crime

(8) Creating 250,000 well-paying private sector jobs and supporting small businesses

But in addition to pushing for these bold policies that are more inclusive of minority groups, I hope to be a representative for the South Asian American community as Governor. Having experienced both racism and religious intolerance on the campaign trial, I intend to fight for Maryland’s South Asian American community. As a Sri Lankan immigrant and the only Asian American in the race, I have repeatedly emphasized the importance of empowering women, people of color, and religious minorities in America.

I have spent my life advocating for minority groups at the State Department and as Michelle Obama’s Policy Director. Just yesterday, I protested the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border at a rally co-sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. In this era of Trump, we become desensitized to attacks on people of our skin color. But, we must fight back against this discrimination. Together, I hope we can move the South Asian American community forward in Maryland.

I was recently endorsed by both the Asian American and Muslim Democratic Clubs of Montgomery County. And I would be honored to have support from you as well. We have been rising in the polls over the past few months, but need your help in this final push. Please vote in the Democratic primary on June 26, and let’s make our voices heard.

(Krish Vignarajah, a former aide to First Lady Michelle Obama, is a candidate for Maryland governor.)


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