Subramanyam, a former Obama White House alum, who worked in all three branches of government, is running from the 87th District.
With the Virginia primary less than two weeks away, the campaign of Indian American Suhas Subramanyam, who is running for the 87th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, is in the home stretch.
“[Our] team is working around the clock, knocking doors, making calls, and writing postcards to voters in the 87th District!” the former Obama administration alumnus said in an email sent to supporters on Tuesday, the day after the Memorial Day.
Subramanyam is one of the four Democrats — and one of the two Indian Americans — vying to succeed Democratic incumbent John Bell, who is running for the Virginia State Senate from District 13. The primary is on June 11.
Subramanyam entered the race on August 28, 2018, one day after Bell announced his Senate run.
The district consists of parts of Sterling — where Subramanyam and his family live — and also includes Ashburn, South Riding, Aldie, and Haymarket, all parts of Loudoun County and Prince William County. It also includes the Dulles International Airport.
Loudoun is the richest county in the United States and Prince William is the 19th richest. Both have significant share of Indian American voters and the candidate is counting on them.
If elected, Subramanyam would become the first Indian American to serve in the Virginia legislature.
“The Indian American community makes up a large portion of the state’s and district’s population, and I believe that our community deserves someone in power that can stand up for our unique experiences and challenges,” he told the American Bazaar. “As a first generation Indian American, this country has given my family so many opportunities that we would not have otherwise had. I want to ensure that every family has those same opportunities.”
Bread and butter issues are at the heart of Subramanyam’s campaign. He has vowed to address traffic and infrastructure challenges, improve schools, and combat inequality in District 87, among other things.
“I am running because we have important decisions to make about the future of our community and country, and I want voters, not special interests and powers that seek to divide us, to make them,” said Subramanyam, who is a volunteer firefighter. “I have spent much of my career empowering those without a voice, and I’m ready to take that experience to Richmond to help us all create a better future for our families and community.”
Subramanyam is no stranger to public service. He ran the White House Technology Task Force in the Obama administration, as a Policy Advisor and Special Assistant for Technology Policy, from August 2015 to March 2017. He also has plenty of political experience, having served as a health care and veteran’s policy aide on Capitol Hill and as a clerk for the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Indian American also has entrepreneurial experience. Following his work in the White House, Subramanyam started his own technology consulting firm, S2 Impact, based in Loudon County, which works to advise companies and nonprofits on technology, government regulations, and economic empowerment.
“I bring a unique perspective to governing,” he told the American Bazaar. “I have worked in all three branches of government, helping some major legislation get reintroduced and passed. I also come from a technology background, which few members of the General Assembly share. I have used tech to solve some of our country’s biggest challenges, like cybersecurity and empowering women and minorities in the workforce.”
Subramanyam has won some key endorsements from the Washington area Indian American community members and groups. Earlier this month, the influential pro-Democratic group Indian American Impact Fund endorsed him. He also has the backing of a number of well-known local Northern Virginia Indian American businessmen.
One of his supporters is Salil Sankaran, a prominent Northern Virginia entrepreneur and President of Ampcus, Inc., a technology company based in Chantilly, VA.
“Suhas’ stellar resume, extensive political experience and his grasp of issues make him a formidable candidate,” Sankaran told the American Bazaar. “I have lived in Virginia for more than two decades and I have not seen a stronger candidate from the Indian American community from either party running for the state assembly. That is why I am supporting Suhas, even though I am not a registered Democrat or Republican.”
Subramanyam, son of Indian immigrant parents, has a law degree from Northwester University School of Law and a BA in philosophy from Tulane.
His parents, both physicians, pursued the American Dream together, and according to his website, passed onto him the values he still holds today: “serve your community, succeed with hard work, and empower those without a voice.”
Although his victory would make him the first Indian American in Virginia’s state legislature, the state has seen a number of Indian American nominees and candidates. Fellow District 87 seat candidate and opponent Akshay Bhamidipati, for instance, is Indian American. Republican Subba Kolla, an Indian American realtor unsuccessfully challenged Bell in the 2017 election.
The other two candidates in the Democratic primary are Johanna Gusman and Hassan Ahmad, a Pakistani American.
In the last election to the Virginia House of Delegates, in 2017, Democrats flipped 15 Republican seats, slimming the Republican advantage 51-49. This year’s general election is on November 5.
Indian American realtor Subba Rao Kolla to run for Virigina state assembly (February 1, 2017)