Who is Aruna Miller, the first Indian-American to win Maryland Lieutenant Governor race?


Amid the high-stakes midterm election in the United States, Indian-American politician Aruna Miller scripted history on Wednesday (November 9) by becoming the first immigrant to hold the office of the Lieutenant Governor in the state of Maryland.

“Ever since I came to this country in 1972, I’ve never stopped being excited for the promise of America,” Miller tweeted shortly after her win. “I will never stop fighting to make sure that promise is available to everyone. And this promise begins with a commitment to deliver a Maryland where we Leave No One Behind.”

The 57-year-old Democrat was on the Lieutenant Governor ticket along with Wes Moore, who has also set a record by becoming Maryland’s first Black Governor.

Who is Aruna Miller?

Born in Hyderabad on November 6, 1964, Miller’s family immigrated to the United States when she was seven-years-old. She grew up in New York and has a BS degree in civil engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Miller became a US citizen in 2000.

Her political career can be traced back to the 90s, when she worked as a transportation engineer for local governments in California, Hawaii and Virginia. She moved to Maryland in 1990, where she worked with the Montgomery Council Department of Transportation.

She has held several legislative positions. Between 2010 and 2018, Miller represented District 15 in the Maryland House of Delegates. In 2018, she ran for Congress in the state’s 6th Congressional District, but lost to David Trone in the Democratic primary.

Bipartisan support

On November 8 night, Moore and Miller were proclaimed victorious. They had been supported by President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris during their campaigns.

Miller enjoyed bipartisan support during the election, with several prominent Republicans raising money for her and speaking in her favour.

“Maryland, tonight you showed the nation what a small but mighty state can do when democracy is on the ballot. You chose unity over division, expanding rights over restricting rights, and hope over fear. You chose Wes Moore and me to be your next Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” Miller said in her victory speech.

Notably, Miller is also the first Asian-American to be elected statewide, according to The Associated Press.

Criticism

Miller’s path to victory has been paved with many hurdles, including allegations that she had courted Hindu nationalists for over a decade. While Miller has denied these claims, her critics say her donor records and public statements over the years point to her ties to Hindutva.

Last month, Moore and Miller sparked a controversy when they were found in a fundraising platform run by Hindu right-wing groups.

What is the role of the Lieutenant Governor?

The Lieutenant Governor is one of the state’s senior-most officials, second only to the Governor. The L-G assumes the role of Governor if the latter is out of state or incapacitated. If the Governor dies, resigns or is removed from office, the LG automatically assumes the top post.





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