Indian American engineer would be the first immigrant and first woman of color elected to statewide office in Maryland
Wes Moore, a Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor has chosen Aruna Miller, an Indian American civil engineer and a former Maryland State Delegate as his running mate.
“Aruna Miller will make an extraordinary lieutenant governor for the state of Maryland,” Moore, an American author, entrepreneur and former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation said announcing her name Thursday.
“She is a principled and experienced legislator, a civil engineer and infrastructure expert, and a leader in her community. After a thorough search,” added the television producer and US Army veteran.
“I am so proud to make her my partner in this campaign to create generational change to address the generational challenges families in Maryland are facing,” said Moore who launched his campaign to become the Democratic candidate for governor last June.
Miller, 57, whose family immigrated to the United States from India when she was 7, would be the first woman of color and the first immigrant elected to statewide office in Maryland.
“I thank Wes Moore for trusting me with the extraordinary honor of serving alongside him as Lieutenant Governor,” Miller said.
“Wes Moore is the transformative leader who deeply understands the urgency of economic and transportation inequities, access to healthcare, education opportunities, climate change, racial and social justice and more, and has the vision and background to address them.”
“I am proud to stand with him on this campaign to bring increased economic opportunities to families across this state. It is time for Wes Moore for Governor,” she said
Miller represented District 15 in the Maryland State House from 2010 to 2018; where she worked to invest in STEM education, streamline the regulatory process for small businesses and was a champion for working families, survivors of domestic abuse, and the environment.
She worked for over 30 years as a civil and transportation engineer in Montgomery County helping improve the safety of the public and alleviate traffic, and creating equitable transportation access to connect people to opportunities.
In her 2018 bid for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, Miller came in second out of eight candidates and earned endorsements from EMILY’s List, the National Education Association, Sierra Club, CASA of Maryland, 314 Action, End Citizens United, and others.
The announcement comes on the heels of a string of high profile endorsements for Wes Moore this week, including state senators Obie Patterson and Dolores Kelley, the Moore campaign said.
“I endorsed Wes Moore early in this campaign because I was inspired by his leadership and because I know he can win and transform the fates of families across Maryland,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “His selection as Aruna Miller, a dynamic and inspiring leader, further cements that.”
Moore, 43, who has made his from-the-bootstraps biography, “The Other Wes Moore,” an essential part of his campaign, said he was impressed by Miller’s personal story as an immigrant as cited by local Maryland Matters.
“I have found someone who is a loving mom who has raised three remarkable young women here in Maryland and someone whose own immigration story has inspired her to a life of public service,” Moore was quoted as saying. “This is someone who I just truly admire.”
There is also a geographical balance between Moore, who is the only Democratic candidate for governor from the Baltimore area, and Miller, according to Maryland Matters. But Moore said he planned to deploy Miller across the state.
“I certainly never planned to be a lieutenant governor,” Miller was quoted as saying.
“This was certainly not on the horizon for Aruna Miller at all. Until I met Wes Moore. Everybody told me, ‘You’ve got to meet Wes Moore,’ and I was like, ‘oh, OK, I’ll meet Wes Moore.’ Not only did he have me at hello, but by the end of our first conversation, I said to myself, ‘This guy is the future of Maryland. He’s going to be our next governor.’”
Gubernatorial candidates have until the Feb. 22 filing deadline to select a candidate for lieutenant governor. The primaries are on June 28.
Moore said he didn’t have any preconceived notions when he began to consider potential running mates. “I walked into this process knowing that there weren’t a series of boxes that I wanted to check,” he said.
But he said Miller’s credentials quickly put her at the top of his wish list, and after a few conversations it became clear that they could forge a formidable governing partnership if they’re elected.
Read: Wes Moore picks ex-delegate Aruna Miller to be his running mate (December 9, 2021)
“This is not going to be a ceremonial position in our administration,” he said, describing Miller as “a thought partner” and someone he would rely on to reach out to the legislature and other elected officials.
Miller said she’s painfully aware that the Maryland Constitution lays out no formal role for lieutenant governors, but came away convinced from her conversations with Moore that she would be a true governing partner with discrete and substantive assignments.
“We’re going to refine and fill in the details about this role,” she said.