Asian Americans Run for Something: Zahra Suratwala | Candidate for DuPage County Board, IL

Zahra Suratwala

This year, a record number of Asian Americans are running for public office at the local, state, and national level. Reappropriate has partnered with Run for Somethinga non-profit launched in 2017 to support grassroots campaigns to elect progressive candidates — to profile these progressive Asian American candidates for higher office. Check back at Reappropriate throughout 2018 to learn more about these candidates and find out how you can get more involved in their campaigns.

What is your full name?
Zahra Suratwala

What office are you seeking?
DuPage County, Illinois — Board Member in District 1 (Democratic Primary)

When is the election date?
Primary election is March 20, 2018. General election is November 6, 2018.

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?

I am a Muslim American woman of Indian ethnicity. I proudly represent my community both as a Muslim and as an Indian-American, and I have found my experiences to be enriched by the global perspective my background gives me.

I am raising my children to understand and fully embrace their identity as well, and to be a part of educating others about our background through our daily interactions with those around us.

How did you become inspired to seek elected office?

I believe we need more diverse representation at all levels of government. I saw a need for elected officials who are kind, empathetic, determined, and who represent a more diverse community, and so I decided to stand up, set an example, and send a message by running.

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?

We need to manage the county budget better so that there is less fiscal waste and therefore no need to raise property taxes. We need to increase accountability and transparency of elected officials. We need to address the opioid epidemic in our county.

What impact has the current political climate had on you as an Asian American progressive seeking elected office?

I have felt the need to get involved in a way that I have not before, because I think the current political climate has the potential to negatively impact my family and those I care about.

Without more diversity in our elected officials, communities like ours will not be represented fairly. My campaign has been met with support, enthusiasm, and a wave of people volunteering their time and energy who have not been involved with politics in the past. It is a sign of the positive changes ahead.

What advice would you have for other young Asian Americans currently considering a career in politics and/or public service?

Just go for it- it seems like a daunting task to run for office, but you have the tools and the resources and the determination you need. Just believe in your own abilities, be prepared to ask for help, and know that as difficult as it will be, it will be worth it. You are making a tangible, positive difference by running.

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your campaign?


How can readers get involved to help your campaign? Are there any upcoming events you’d like for us to know about?

We need all the help we can get! Please consider donating or volunteering for our campaign!



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Run for Something recruits and supports talented, passionate young people who advocate for progressive values now and for the next 30 years, with the ultimate goal of building a progressive bench. Since its launch on inauguration day 2017, they’ve recruited 16,000 young people to run for office.  

Register to vote online now.


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