Once again, a record number of Asian Americans and a growing number of Pacific Islanders are running for public office at the local, state, and national level.
Every week, Reappropriate will profile progressive AAPI candidates for higher office. Check back at Reappropriate throughout 2020 to learn more about these candidates and find out how you can get more involved in their campaigns.
What is your full name?
What office are you seeking?
Nevada State Assembly District 2 – open seat.
When is the election date?
November 3rd, general election.
What is your party registration (if any)?
Tell me a little bit about your background in general, as well as your relationship to your identity as an Asian American and Pacific Islander?
I was born in India and came from humble beginnings, where I grew up in a loving family with three older brothers. I live the values my parents instilled in me: never stop fighting for the righteous, serve with humility, be grateful, and become an advocate for the less fortunate. I immigrated in the mid-90s to the United States to pursue graduate school and became a citizen. I am married to Regi Kunnel, who is also an immigrant from India.
How did you become inspired to seek elected office? (300 words or less)
My lived experiences frame my passion for public service — experiences such as losing my grandmother at an early age because she didn’t have access to quality healthcare and witnessing the devastation of my community following Hurricane Katrina when I lived in New Orleans.
The current political climate has highlighted a need for leadership and policies that are proactive. As a scientist and an educator, I will bring a unique perspective to the frontlines of the decision-making process in Carson City.
I spent all of my life at the intersection of education, science, and healthcare and chose to learn law and policymaking to compliment my passion for public service. The combination of my commitment to public service and my professional experience will help me in becoming a successful legislator.
What three issues do you think are most important to your constituents, and what step(s) do you plan to take to address them if elected?
Healthcare for ALL
- Policies and laws that increase the efficient use of our resources by decreasing administrative costs, decreasing futile health care costs, better organ transplantation laws, access to medicine through telemedicine.
- Protecting and expanding research integrity
- Access to equitable healthcare
Improving Nevada’s Education System
- Increase teacher pay
- Reduce classroom sizes
- Access to on-site mental health resources
- Advancement in STEM education
- Ensure Districts are adequately equipped for distance learning in the event of physical closures
Supporting Working Families
- Working Families must have access to Affordable, Quality Child Care & Paid Family and Medical Leave
Supporting Small Businesses
- Nevada first approach for small business contracts
- Disaster preparedness plans to support small businesses
- Work with organizations that advocate for small business to help grow the number of small businesses within our community
What impact has the current political climate had on you as an Asian American and Pacific Islander progressive seeking elected office?
AAPIs are stereotyped as apolitical and disengaged, but this is changing, especially under current political conditions that revolve around issues of social justice. Racial targeting and hate crimes against AAPIs necessitate that AAPIs come together to demand justice and liberation. The current political climate also creates a condition to require more representation at the leadership.
What advice would you have for other young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders currently considering a career in politics and/or public service?
AAPI political activism around social injustices, which include discrimination and inequality, has been around for over 150 years. The contemporary political and social environment is a reminder for today’s generation to continue that tradition of political engagement.
Where can readers go to learn more about you and your campaign? Be sure to include links to your campaign website, social media, etc., in your answer.
- Website: www.radhika4nevada.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/Kunnel4NV
- Twitter: @kunnel4nv
- Instagram: @kunnel4nv
How can readers get involved to help your campaign? Are there any upcoming events you’d like for us to know about?
We are in the process of organizing fundraising and voter outreach activities. Please follow us for updates on events. I would appreciate any financial contribution to my campaign at actblue.com/donate/radhikakunnel.
If you are a progressive Asian American or Pacific Islander running for elected office in 2020, and would like to be profiled in this series, please contact me for more information.