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Business News/ News / World/  Who is Ashwin Ramaswami, the first Gen Z Indian-American running for US Senate seat?
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Who is Ashwin Ramaswami, the first Gen Z Indian-American running for US Senate seat?

If elected, Ashwin Ramaswami would be the first Gen Z Indian-American Senator in Georgia and the only Georgia state legislator with degrees in computer science and law.

Ashwin Ramaswami, a Gen Z Indian American, is running for Georgia Senate seat. (PTI)Premium
Ashwin Ramaswami, a Gen Z Indian American, is running for Georgia Senate seat. (PTI)

Ashwin Ramaswami, a 24-year-old software engineer, is all set to be the first Gen Z Indian-American to foray into United States politics with his run for the state senate. Generation Z (also known as Zoomers) encompasses those born between 1997 and 2012.

He is a second generation immigrant; his parents came to the US from Tamil Nadu in the 1990s. If elected, he would be the first Indian-American State Senator in District 48 of Georgia. He would also be the first Gen Z State Senator in Georgia and the only Georgia state legislator with both a computer science and a law degree.

Ramaswami is a Democrat and he is hoping to replace incumbent Republican Shawn Still, who was indicted with former President Donald Trump for the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Who is Ashwin Ramaswami?

Ashwin Ramaswami is a 24-year-old software engineer, who as a civil servant has worked on cybersecurity and election security and has also built a career in technology, law and policy research. A native of Georgia, Ramaswami has worked with nonprofits, startups, and small businesses to use technology for the public interest and create jobs.

Ramaswami is a second-generation Indian-American, and both his parents are from the IT sector. They had migrated to the US in the 1990s from Tamil Nadu.

He worked at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on cybersecurity and election security, working with state and local election offices to secure the 2020 and 2022 elections. Ramaswami also worked as a legal fellow in the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. He graduated from Stanford University in 2021.

“I did my undergraduate at Stanford in computer science. I worked a lot on startups at work, but I soon realised that we need more tech people in the federal government, which is why I joined the federal government and started working on election security and cybersecurity starting in 2020," he said.

Interest in Indian culture

Ashwin Ramaswami said that he is a Hindu, and has been very interested in Indian culture and philosophy his whole life.

"My mom is from Chennai, my dad is from Coimbatore. I've always grown up with Indian culture and also American culture growing up as well. I'm a Hindu. I've been very interested in Indian culture and philosophy my whole life," he said.

While growing up, he went to Chinmaya Mission Balavihar where he learned about epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita.

“When I was in college, I actually learned Sanskrit and ended up reading a lot of ancient texts and got very interested in reading Upanishads, ..and my whole life I've been very involved in yoga and meditation and now also teaching Baal Vihara to younger students," Ramaswami said.

Ramaswami said for him, a very important part of his heritage is thinking about where his family comes from and "those values that we're bringing to the table as well".

Political goals

Ashwin Ramaswami says that he wants to "give back to the community" to ensure everyone has the same opportunities he had growing up.

“I'm running for (Georgia) State Senate in order to give back to my community. I want to make sure that everyone has the same opportunities that I had growing up," Ramaswami, 24, told PTI in an interview. "I want to make sure we have a new voice, people who are young, who come from unconventional backgrounds in politics because it's really important that we have people who represent us, not just people who can afford to do it."

Gen Z and politics

Ashwin Ramaswami said that his generation is “very aware politically" of what's going on.

“We very much see the news, we see all these things happening, and we want to ensure a good future for ourselves. But I think one problem we face is we don't have the resources or ability to actually go and make a difference in the sense that it's really hard for people my age to get elected because the election process skews towards people who are wealthier and older.

"So that's one big problem. I hope to show by being successful at this age that we can have that kind of a voice and we can work for everyone regardless of background," he asserted.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published: 20 Feb 2024, 04:08 PM IST
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