Now Reading
Indian American State Sen. Ghazala Hashmi Announces Run for Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Post

Indian American State Sen. Ghazala Hashmi Announces Run for Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Post

  • The former literature professor and community college administrator became the first Muslim and the first South Asian American to serve in the Virginia Senate in 2019.

Virginia state Sen. Ghazala F. Hashmi is running for the state’s lieutenant governor race, seeking the Democratic nomination in the June 2025 primary. She became the first Muslim and the first South Asian American to serve in the Virginia Senate, after flipping a redrawn suburban Richmond district in 2019. She was re-elected to a second four-year term last November. The post is expected to be open, with Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (R) widely expected to seek the GOP nomination to succeed Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R). 

A former literature professor and community college administrator, the Indian American is “an experienced educator and advocate of inclusive values and social justice,” and is “committed to helping improve the lives of all Virginians,” according to her website.  As a state senator, she has introduced and passed legislation to ensure affordable healthcare coverage, relieve medical debt, and help seniors afford housing. She also fought to strengthen workers’ rights to unionize, require insurance companies to cover contraceptives, crack down on hate crimes and improve mental health care for our veterans.

Announcing her bid on May 2, Hashmi said running “because we are just one vote away, in the State Senate, from MAGA extremism overrunning our schools, reproductive health care, gun safety measures, voting rights, and much more.” She “doesn’t see this office as a stepping stone,” she said, adding that she’s “running to solidify the Democratic brick wall as our next lieutenant governor. We need an accomplished, progressive Senator to do just that.”

She decided to run for office in 2017, when then-president Donald Trump’s push for a Muslim ban and for a “Muslim registry,” that specifically targeted Muslim Americans. “Hashmi stood up for every Virginian who felt voiceless in the face of Trump’s extremism and hate,” she said.

“If we want to protect our freedoms, stand against hate and build a future that uplifts all of us, including our most vulnerable, we must always fight for what is right,” she said. “When I first ran, I realized that any one of us can make a positive, meaningful difference. We each have a responsibility to raise our voice and stand up against injustice, particularly those injustices that impact our neighbors and our communities.”

Speaking to The Washington Post ahead of her May 2 announcement, Hashmi said her ability to unseat a well-funded Republican that year is part of what sets her apart from the crowded Democratic field. She also noted that, at least so far, she is the only woman in the race. The other candidates are Prince William County School Board Chairman Babur B. Lateef, state Sen. Aaron R. Rouse (D-Virginia Beach) and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “As we’ve seen across the country, and certainly here in Virginia, the issues that are really propelling voters are focused around women’s issues,” she said, ticking off examples such as “reproductive justice,” child care and paid family leave. “Those issues are going to be absolutely top of mind for so many voters in Virginia, and as the only woman in the race, I speak to those issues very clearly and directly.”

Hashmi immigrated to the U.S. at age four with her mother and older brother to join her father in Georgia just as he was completing his doctoral work in international relations and beginning his university teaching career. Ghazala grew up in that small college town, at a time when public schools were being desegregated. She saw firsthand how communities can be built and dialogue promoted through intentional efforts to bridge cultural, racial, and socioeconomic divisions. Ghazala earned a BA in English from Georgia Southern University and a PhD in American literature from Emory University in Atlanta.

She and her husband moved as newlyweds to the Richmond area in 1991, and she spent nearly 30 years as a professor, teaching first at the University of Richmond and then at Reynolds Community College. While at Reynolds, she also served as the Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL). She and Azhar have two adult daughters who were both born and raised in Midlothian, completed their K-12 education in Chesterfield County Public Schools, and attended Virginia public institutions of higher education.

See Also

First elected to office in November 2019, Hashmi represented the 10th Senatorial District within the Virginia General Assembly, which included parts of Richmond City, Chesterfield County, and all of Powhatan County. As a result of state-wide redistricting in 2021, Senator Hashmi won re-election in the new 15th Senatorial District in 2023.  This new Senate district includes parts of the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County.

She received the Virginia Education Association’s Legislative Champion of the Year Award (2022, 2023 & 2024) for delivering on stronger public school funding, blocking efforts to privatize public education, and leading the charge to stop book bans in Virginia schools. As a renowned environmental champion, she is the recipient of a Virginia’s League of Conservation Voters Legislative Hero designation (2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023) and Sierra Club’s Environmental Hero Award (2022). 

She serves as the chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Public Education, and she sits on several Senate committees. As an experienced educator and advocate of inclusive values and social justice, she identifies education, equity, the environment, and healthcare access as top legislative priorities.

(Photos, Ghazala Hashmi/Facebook)

What's Your Reaction?
In Love
Not Sure
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top