Tina Maharath for Ohio State Senate 2018

Tina Maharath for Ohio State Senate 2018

September 1st, 2017  |  Published in People

By Tina Maharath

I am running for the Ohio State Senate in the 3rd district as a member of the Democratic Party. Our Primary Election is May 8, 2018 and the General Election is November 6, 2018. I was an intern for the Ohio House of Representatives and US Senate. I was a Field Fellow for the Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) and have volunteered extensively in my local community. My father is from Pakse and my mother is from Savannakhet, Laos. I am the first American born child in my family.

My platform includes increasing educational funding, investing in opiate treatments, improving access to healthcare, developing economic opportunities through training, and supporting veterans returning from combat. While these issues have been seen as urgent in the past, they were never considered a true crisis in Ohio. All of these issues are tied together, and if we don’t treat them as an emergency, then Ohio falls down with the nation. You can find out more about my platform at tinamaharath.com.

Growing up Laotian American prepared me to fight for what’s right. To fight for the minority voices, even though the majority’s voices are more outspoken. It prepared me to pick a battle to win a war, and not a just fight. As minorities, we are very underrepresented. Without a voice in politics, we will continue to be misrepresented in the future. I witnessed first hand, while growing up, the disadvantages faced by minorities due to language, educational and socio-economic barriers.

My mother was a nurse in Laos and my father was a soldier in the military. Despite their education and training, they arrived in the United States with few resources and did not speak English fluently, so they became warehouse workers. They struggled to provide us with a comfortable and meaningful life. But, when I was just 14 years old my mother and siblings died in a car accident while traveling out of state to visit relatives in North Carolina. I was fortunate to be living and studying abroad in Toulouse, France at that time.

My family’s tragedy deeply affected my adolescence. My thought process at the time was “my family members never got a chance to live a real life, so I will live that life style for them.” When I moved back home to Ohio, I made reckless choices, often going out to parties all evening long. As I was returning home late one night, I unknowingly ran over a man who was in the lying on the ground. I was just 16 at the time and terrified. I was under intense scrutiny by the community and negatively portrayed in the media, but I was certain that I was not culpable. It was later proven that the man was already dead, having been run over by other cars previously. That experience really shook me up and made me want to be more transparent about the life that I was living, and how it contributed to the circumstance I was in. Most of my remaining siblings still lived in Laos, so I was fortunate to receive a great deal of support from my extended family members and friends during this time.

Although my mother is no longer with me, I still recall what an amazing woman she was and I am grateful for how well she raised me. Now that I am a mother, I hope for a better future for my own son. I hope that he is provided with choices and options in all realms. Those currently in government have made too many policy choices based on lobbyist funding. We are currently fighting back on those decisions. I also hope my son’s generation doesn’t have to struggle for their basic rights the way I did. Fortunately, I am not alone. One of my mentors is the first Cambodian American State Legislature, Rady Mom (Massachusetts House of Representatives), who is also a former refugee.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my extended family and friends in the Laotian American community for your ongoing support in promoting my efforts so far. I am currently scheduling fundraising events and would love to meet with Laotian Americans throughout the U.S. to discuss the importance of civic engagement.

Contact me at https://www.tinamaharath.com/get-involved
Your kind donations are very welcome, online at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/tmaharath