What should one call it -Indian soft power or the hard power in hands of Indian-Americans?
Making history Aruna Miller, an Indian by birth and an American by citizenship will now be the Lieutenant Governor of Maryland state.
A firebrand Democrat Aruna along with the governor candidate Wes Moore were declared the Lieutenant Governor-elect and Governor-elect respectively soon the polling yesterday got over.
Thanking the people for their choice, the Indian-American LG-elect said, “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.”
Highlighting the quintessential ‘American promise’, she said, “Ever since I came to this country in 1972, I’ve never stopped being excited for the promise of America. 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.”
When there is buzz in the air over who is Aruna, it is high time to look into her life and career.
Aruna Miller’s early life as a student
Aruna was born in 1964 in Hyderabad. However, when she was seven years old, her family shifted to the US along with her two siblings. They stayed at Poughkeepsie where IBM offered his father a job of mechanical engineer.
Aruna went to public schools at Upstate New York and Ballwin, Misouri. However, she got her civil engineering degree from Missouri University of Science and Tehcnology.
Aruna Miller's entry to the US politics
She started working as transportation engineer of local governments in California, Virginia and Hawaii. Later in 1990, she moved to Maryland and worked with Montgomery County Department of Transportation.
From her early career days her interests in the social welfare were reflected. During this phase, she looked into the programmes meant to enhance accessibility to schools, community centres, employment centres etc. She also tried to ease the lives of differently abled people through her projects.
After becoming a citizen of the country in 2000, for the first time she voted in the US presidential election. Gradually, she was pulled towards the politics of the country and started working for different candidates.
In 2010 as Craig L Rice, then the state delegate wanted to run for Montgomery County Council, Democratic party asked Aruna to run for the vacant post. She won the election to District 15 and secured her position in the Maryland house of Delegates.
She also became the first Indian-American to get elected as a delegate in Maryland.
In 2012 she made her ways to become an at-large delegate to the Democratic National Convention during the presidentship of Barrack Obama. During her two terms (2010-2015 and 2015-2019) as Maryland legislator she worked in different significant committees and sub-committees dealing with crucial areas like revenue, transportation etc.
In 2018, she took a bid to become a member of House of Representatives from Maryland’s 6th Congressional district. However, she was defeated in the Democratic primary to David Trone.
2022 Maryland Gubernatorial Elections
In December, 2021, for her administrative capacity the Wes Moore picked her as the LG candidate of Maryland.
In July, 2022, Moore-Aruna combination for the support of Democratic primary to fight against Republican nominee Dan Cox.
Major ideological positions taken by Aruna Miller
A fierce supporter of people’s rights, Aruna pressed for the legislation to restart celebrating ‘labour day’ in schools.
She also was instrumental behind the fracking ban that is considered a remarkable step in the progressive environmental policy. As fracking creates huge amount of wastewater, emits greenhouse gases such as methane and other dangerous components, for long environmental activists called for its ban.
The former executive director of Indian American Impact, an organisation that supports the representation of the Indian-Americans in different levels of the US government, Aruna has been a vibrant supporter of ‘gun control’ against the free gun policy that every other day kills hundreds. She proposed background check of the buyer, extensive research and asked for the increase of age limit to but guns.
Aruna Miller in recent controversy
Last month both the governor candidate Moore and Aruna were found in a fundraising programme organised by some Hindu right-wing groups.
Interestingly, as per the media reports, her popularity among Indian-Americans is so remarkable that several Republican, pro-Trump supporters also came out to lend their hands to Aruna.
One among them is Jasdip Singh Jassee, who came to prominence due as his videos on ‘Why I support President Trump’ went viral.
Married to her college life partner David Miller, Aruna is mother of three adult daughters.
In Maryland, after taking oath Aruna will be the administrative head only next to Moore. As Indians across the world as are celebrating clouts of Indian-origin administrators in different countries, it is now Aruna’s turn to further show her worth.