Aruna Miller, the first Asian American elected statewide in Maryland, was sworn-in as the state’s lieutenant governor on Wednesday, FOX 5 reports.
Miller was sworn in alongside newly-elected governor Wes Moore, who is the first Black governor of Maryland. Miller is the first woman of color lieutenant governor in Maryland and the first South Asian to hold the position in U.S. history, CBS News reports.
In her speech, she said she hoped her victory and Moore’s victory would inspire young people.
“I certainly hope that we’re able to let them know that they can be anybody that they want to be when they grow up, and that they should never ever feel uncomfortable in their own skin,” she said, according to CBS Baltimore.
Miller was born Hyderabad, India, and moved to the United States in 1972 when she was seven. She earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, according to IndiaWest Journal.
The lieutenant governor worked in Maryland’s transportation department for 25 years. Since 2011, she served two terms as a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates, the lower chamber of the legislature. She almost decided not to run for the seat in 2010, fearing she would lose. Now, over a decade later, she has won a state-wide election.
“There are still moments that I wake up and I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. As a matter of fact, on election night, after we had heard all the results, and we celebrated, I turned around and said to my husband: ‘I’m afraid to go to sleep because I’m afraid that if I wake up I’m going to find out this was all a dream,'” Miller said, according to CBS Baltimore.
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