Asian Americans endorse Democratic candidates in Maryland including Indian-American

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Aruna Miller addressing AAPI community leaders on April 22, 2022 in Rockville, Maryland.PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Rockville, Maryland: Community leaders of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), and Maryland State Senator Susan Lee, gathered on Friday, April 22, 2022, in Rockville, Maryland, to express their support for Democratic candidates contesting state-level races for  Governor, Lt. Governor, and Comptroller in the 2022 elections.

At the meeting, Senator Lee, who is also Chair Emeritus of the Maryland AAPI Caucus, endorsed candidates Wes Moore for Governor, Indian-American, Aruna Miller for Lt. Governor, and Brooke Lierman for the Comptroller of Maryland.

Amidst community leaders who gathered to cheer the candidates, Lee said, “We need fresh, new generational leadership, and someone who will be our champion in the statehouse, and someone who will be a Governor who listens to us and who will be make us a part of this administration because there’s so many issues that are so important to us in the 2022 election. We have a lot to gain and a lot to lose if we don’t get involved. And as I said earlier, you remember in Georgia, Asian American Pacific Islanders made a difference in that race. And we can make history here.”

Wes Moore addressing AAPI community leaders on April 22, 2022 in Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times
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Moore is a Rhodes Scholar and a White House fellow, who Lee said, was ambitious to use his professional and life experiences to improve the world. He wants to bring people together on issues such as transportation, healthcare, economic development, bioscience, fight racial profiling, hate crimes, and things that matter and uplift families, Lee noted.

Miller came to the United States from India as a 7-year old, was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2010, the first Indian-American woman to achieve that distinction. She had to overcome a lot of cultural and language barriers as well as discrimination, Lee said, noting that Miller worked with her and Lierman to lead the fight and pass legislation for issues such as Bioscience, STEM education funding, and to ensure Maryland has exceptional schools. Lee said, Miller understands the policy issues.

If she wins, Miller will be the first Lt. Governor of Maryland of Asian American origin.

Speaking at the event, Miller recalled when she was in college her father faced health issues and ended up losing his job. She depended on scholarships and Pell Grants to become a civil engineer. “And so immediately upon graduating from civil engineering, I got into public service. It’s been a great honor for me to be able to work on one of the most important issues that really provides access to every resident in the state to have equitable transportation.”

As a state legislator for eight years serving under both Republican Governor Larry Hogan, and Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley, Miller focused on the STEM education program, streamlining regulatory process for small businesses, environment issues, taking up issues affecting working families and survivors of domestic abuse. While serving on the House Appropriations Committee and House Ways & Means Committee she oversaw state budget, personnel and transportation issues.

Moore, who is contesting for the Governor said Miller is a strong running partner, and that they are looking forward to win both the primary and gubernatorial elections this year. “She (Aruna Miller) is not just going to be the next Lt. Governor for the state of Maryland, she is going to be the most consequential Lt. Governor in this country. And I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with her and to work with all of you to be able to advance the ideas and the concepts that is going to make our state better and make our state stronger,” Moore said in his speech.

Both Moore and Miller’s campaign agenda promises to provide quality public education, an economy that works for everyone, affordable and accessible health care, and safer communities for Marylanders. Moore said, both Miller and he are running mainly because the state is still remarkably inequitable, where opportunities are readily available to some and absent to others. He said, Maryland has some of the best technology companies in the world but children still don’t have access to Wi-Fi, the state has premier medical institutions, where people from all over the world come for medical help and yet people who live down the street from those institutions cannot afford basic care.

“While Aruna’s mother immigrated to this country from India, my mother immigrated to this country from Jamaica,” Moore pointed out. “And come January with your help, they will be sitting together except they’ll be sitting together in Annapolis at the inauguration of their two children to become the Governor and the Lt.  Governor of a state that helped welcome them.”

Indian American attendees pose with Brooke Lierman and State Senator Susan Lee at the AAPI event on April 22, 2022 in Maryland. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Brooke Lierman, a civil rights and disability rights attorney, and a mom of two kids under the age of ten years, said she’s really excited to be running to be the next State Comptroller. As a state delegate, and as Chair of Joint Committee on Pensions, she is credited with helping  secure the pension fund of retirees. “This is the most important election of our lifetime in Maryland and I’ll tell you why. Because in the past 100 years, we have not had an election where every statewide constitutional office has been open on the ballot until this year. And so we the people in this room have this amazing opportunity that will not come around again in our lifetime. To make sure that over the next four years, we make Maryland look better for the next 40 years,” she said.

Lierman who is running to be the Maryland’s first woman Comptroller, said the Comptroller is like the elected CFO of the state of Maryland.  She said, “it’s so essential that we have a statewide voice who understands that we must have an inclusive statewide office that truly represents the diversity of the state of Maryland and I am dedicated to making sure that happens. We need the staff of the Office, the people who are on the boards advising the office, to make sure that we have Asian Americans represented at every level of government and in every office that we have, and I’m dedicated to making sure that happens.”

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