Throwing her hat into a crowded race filled with 20 candidates, Indian American political activist Shruti Bhatnagar is vying for one of three open seats on the Montgomery County, Maryland, Council.
Another Indian American, Ashwani Jain, is also campaigning for one of the available seats.
“The demographics of Montgomery County have changed drastically making it a majority-minority community,” said Bhatnagar on her campaign Web site. “Addressing the complex challenges that our county is faced with — like reducing the opportunity gap to promote equity, meeting the needs of our most vulnerable population and enhancing public transit for all Montgomery County residents —requires diverse perspectives to be included in the decision-making process.”
“I want to be that voice to make sure that all families in Montgomery County have access to opportunities that meet their needs,” said the 46-year-old candidate.
“Montgomery County is an amazing place to live and call home,” said Bhatnagar, noting that she has served as a community advocate for the past 15 years, securing resources and creating partnerships “so that families have access to opportunities that help to create equity and racial justice.”
After moving to the U.S. 18 years ago, Bhatnagar – who holds an MBA – worked in the non-profit sector at the American Red Cross, and as an educator in Montgomery County public schools.
Quality public education is the first priority on Bhatnagar’s campaign platform. “I have seen first-hand the many challenges that our families deal with that hinders student success,” she said, noting the county’s diverse population.
“The success of many families is rooted in quality childcare and education. We must make sure that all our families have access to resources that will allow students to have opportunities to succeed,” stated Bhatnagar.
Access to affordable housing and health care is also a priority for the candidate. Bhatnagar said she has been working for the past several years with low-income families to find affordable housing. “Through partnerships with community leaders we have found creative solutions and succeeded in securing affordable housing for some families. Creating affordable housing opportunities for all families is important to sustain a diverse community in our county.”
The candidate said she has led the drive to control drug abuse in the county, and is also focusing on mental health issues.
Bhatnagar has also made accessible public transportation, equitable wages for all sectors, and equity and social justice flagstone issues of her campaign.
Bhatnagar was born in India: her father was a small business owner and her mother was an academician who later moved on to a career in public service. Bhatnagar — who attended university in India — began her career working for U.S. companies based in New Delhi.