Indian American Nithya Raman appointed to LA’s air quality board

Indian American urban planner Nithya Raman unseats LA City Councillor
Nithya Raman

LA mayor calls Kerala born urban planner “a true environmentalist laser-focused on our climate and public health priorities”

Indian American urban planner Nithya Raman has been appointed on the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing board charged with promoting clean air in Los Angeles.

“She is a true environmentalist who will bring her passion and experience. She is laser-focused on our climate and public health priorities, and is a great addition to this board,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announcing her appointment Feb 1.

The SCAQMD board — which adopts policies and regulations aimed at promoting clean air in LA, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties — includes 13 members, 10 of whom are elected officials, according to spectrumnews1.com.

Read: Indian American urban planner Nithya Raman unseats LA City Councillor (November 9, 2020)

Raman, who became the first Asian-American woman and the first South Asian ever to serve on the Los Angeles City Council, with a historic victory in 2019, will replace Joe Buscaino, who joined the board in 2013.

She will be the city’s only representative on the agency tasked by the state and federal government with achieving clean air standards to comply with standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Federal Clean Air Act and California’s Clean Air Act.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve on the AQMD board — one of the most critical tools we have in Los Angeles for mitigating the effects of climate change,” Raman said.

“I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues on the board to work to ensure that everyone in the South Coast region has healthy, clean air to breathe and that our ports become models for 21st century shipping that center environmental sustainability and environmental justice in their operations.”

The Coalition for Clean Air welcomed Raman’s appointment. “Millions of Southern Californians, especially those in marginalized communities, breathe air that fails to meet national and state air quality standards,” the coalition’s Deputy Policy Director Chris Chavez said.

“Despite this, getting SCAQMD to pass even the most basic air pollution protections often becomes a years-long arduous fight. Mayor Garcetti has taken a significant and important step towards protecting public health and improving California’s air quality,” Chavez continued.

Read: Is Nithya Raman about to lose her Hollywood Hills Council seat? (October 1, 2021)

“We have the utmost confidence in Councilmember Raman’s commitment to clean air. This is a good day for those of us living in the smoggiest air basin in the country.”

Born in Kerala, India, Raman moved to Louisiana at 6 years old. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political theory from Harvard University then a master’s degree in urban planning from MIT.

Prior to entering politics, Raman founded and headed a homelessness nonprofit in Los Angeles and was the executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment.

Since taking office, Raman has prioritized delivering compassionate and effective services for people experiencing homelessness, building more affordable housing, and moving with greater urgency to meet our city’s climate goals, according to her official profile.

She serves as Chair of the Information, Technology, and General Services Committee, Vice Chair of the Homelessness & Poverty Committee, Vice Chair of the Housing Committee, and as a member of the Economic Development & Jobs and Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights, & Equity Committees.

Raman lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles with her husband Vali Chandrasekaran and six-year-old twins Karna and Kaveri.

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