Several Indian Americans were vying for seats in Virginia in its primary elections held June 11. Among the victorious candidates were Suhas Subramanyam and Ghazala Hashmi, who were seeking to advance in the Democratic primaries for the 87th House of Delegates District and 10th State Senate District, respectively.
Subramanyam won his Democratic primary handily with 47.3 percent of the vote. Other candidates in the four-candidate race included Hassan Ahmad (23.2 percent), Johanna Gusman (18.7 percent) and Akshay Bhamidipati (10.8 percent), who finished second through fourth, respectively.
Subramanyam advances to the Nov. 5 general election taking on Republican Bill Drennan.
The Indian American has dedicated his life to serving his community and solving some of the country’s biggest challenges. His family's story in America began in 1979, when Subramanyam’s mother, a native of Bangalore, immigrated to the United States. She landed at Dulles Airport to start a new life where she would later become a physician and raise a family. She united with the candidate’s father, who was born in India and raised by the widow of a deceased army veteran. Together, they pursued the American dream and passed along values that Subramanyam holds today: serve your community, succeed with hard work, and empower those without a voice.
Those values stuck with him and, while at Tulane University and in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, his community service work in the aftermath of the storm propelled him into a life of community service. He helped organize volunteers to rebuild and revitalize communities affected by the storm and, as president of the college's environmental club, pushed local officials to prioritize environmental standards during the rebuild. Subramanyam graduated summa cum laude and turned down lucrative corporate opportunities to help get Democratic leaders elected.
He has since worked tirelessly to improve the health and prosperity of all Virginians and Americans. He served on Capitol Hill as a health care and veterans policy aide, where he worked to expand and improve health care access to millions of Americans and drafted legislation to increase job opportunities and funding for veterans.
He later earned his law degree with honors at Northwestern University School of Law, volunteering at the Center for Wrongful Convictions. There, he was part of the legal team that freed a man who had spent 21 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He also clerked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, where he helped re-introduce the DREAM Act and worked on criminal justice reforms.
Subramanyam serves as a volunteer firefighter at Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department, and he is an active member of the Rotary Club of Ashburn. He was also appointed by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to the Loudoun Health Council, where he works to address some of the most pressing health care issues in Northern Virginia.
Hashmi won her Democratic primary by taking in 49.4 percent of the vote, nearly 10 points ahead of second place finisher Eileen McNeil Bedell (40.9 percent) and well ahead of Zachary Brown, who finished third with 9.7 percent.
Hashmi will take on Republican Glen Sturtevant in the general election.
Hashmi is an experienced educator and advocate who has spent over 25 years working within Virginia’s college and university system, her campaign site says.
She currently serves as the founding director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning at Reynolds Community College.
Hashmi immigrated to the U.S. from India 50 years ago. As an immigrant living in a small town in the South, she saw first-hand how community building and fostering important dialogue can bridge the cultural and socioeconomic divisions that we face, the bio says.
She later earned her doctorate in English from Emory University, and she and her husband moved to the Richmond area in 1991.
Their daughters were born and raised in Midlothian and educated in Chesterfield County Public Schools. Hashmi is guided by the principles of integrity, social justice, and ethics in government in her approach to public service. She is the first Muslim American woman to serve in the Virginia State Senate, according to her bio.
Other candidates running in Virginia included Veena Lothe, who lost in the State Senate 12th District to Debra Rodman in the Democratic primary. Lothe received 40.2 percent of the vote; Rodman took home 59.8 percent.
U.S. Air Force veteran Shyamali Hauth was also running for a seat June 11, but failed to get support for the Hunter Mill District supervisor seat. Former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn won the election easily, with nearly 50 percent of the vote. Laurie Dodd took second with about 25 percent of the vote. Maggie Parker and Parker Messick rounded out the five-candidate race.
Elsewhere, Nick Patel was hoping to become the mayor of Hemingway, South Carolina. He received five votes in the three-candidate race won by John Michael Collins. Collins earned 62 votes while Charlie Carter finished in second with 53 votes.