Who Is Ashwin Ramaswami? The First Indian-American Gen Z Candidate For Georgia State Senate


FEBRUARY 19, 2024

Ashwin Ramaswami (On left) along with his family.

A child of immigrants who wishes to give back to the community, Ashwin Ramaswami has become the first Indian-American from Gen Z to run for a state or federal legislature in the US. He is running in the Democratic party for State Senate in District 48 of Georgia.

A second-generation Indian-American, he has a background in software engineering, election security, technology law and policy research. “I’m the child of immigrants, but I was born and raised in Johns Creek. For a long time, I was interested in how I could give back to my community. I didn’t want to stay in the Bay. I wanted to come and give back,” said Ramaswami, 24, whose parents immigrated to the US from Tamil Nadu in 1990.

‘I’d break barriers’

In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Ramaswami said, “I realised instead of asking for a candidate, I could be the candidate. I’m from the community. I have strong ties. I’d also break barriers in terms of being the first Indian American and Gen Z member of the Georgia State Senate. So I’d bring a new voice to politics.”  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.

On a question about his age’s impact on the poll campaign, he said, “It’s a lot of fun. You’re able to talk to so many people, learn so much about what people are facing and be able to be a voice for others. It’s really about bridging that gap. So, of course, I’m talking to people my age who are excited there’s someone like them representing them, but then I’m talking a lot to people from other generations who have the resources that [Gen Z candidates] need to succeed but also understand we need new voices. The most important thing is your integrity and competence.”

‘Interested in Indian Philosophy’

His parents, both from the IT sector, came to the US in the 1990s. “They both came from Tamil Nadu. 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 philosophy my whole life,” told PTI in another interview. 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 my heritage is thinking about where his family comes from and “those values that we’re bringing to the table as well.”

A native of Georgia, Ramaswami has worked with nonprofits, startups, and small businesses to use technology for the public interest and create jobs. As a civil servant, 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. He also worked as a legal fellow in the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

If elected

If elected, he would be the first Gen Z State Senator in Georgia and the only Georgia state legislator with both a computer science and a law degree. He would also break barriers as the first Indian American in the Georgia State legislature. “Everyone should make sure they have access to a quality education. We want to make sure people have access to jobs and the economy, entrepreneurship and also access to healthcare, reproductive rights and all these issues that matter to us. That’s why I’ve been running,” Ramaswami told PTI.

“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 stressed.

Courtesy: News18 / PTI