CALIFORNIA CANDIDATE. Dr. Asif Mahmood, right, a physician
who came to the U.S. from Pakistan, greets supporters after
announcing he is joining the 2018 race for Californiaís
lieutenant governor, in front of the downtown federal building
that houses a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field
office in Los Angeles. Mahmood is promising to run on his Muslim
faith, immigrant past, and career as a healthcare provider. (AP
From The Asian Reporter, V27, #7 (April 3, 2017), page
Muslim immigrant to join California lieutenant
By Christopher Weber
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES ó A Pakistan-born doctor has announced that he is
joining the 2018 race for lieutenant governor on a platform of
saving the Affordable Care Act, providing free community college
education, and fighting what he termed "Donald Trumpís hate."
"I am a proud Muslim and I love America," Dr. Asif Mahmood
said at a news conference in front of the downtown federal
building that houses a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
"President Trump continues to attack people like me:
immigrants, people of color, and Muslims," Mahmood said. "I say
President Trump has it all wrong. Itís time to get tough on
hate. California must be the leader of the Trump resistance, and
I will fight him every step of the way."
The pulmonologist said he came to the United States because
he wanted his family to live in a place "that celebrates
diversity and tolerance."
Born in a small, rural village, Mahmood moved to Kentucky in
the 1990s to complete medical school. He came to Southern
California in 2000 and lives near Los Angeles with his wife and
three teenage children.
As a first-time candidate, Mahmoodís challenge is to build a
statewide coalition, potentially anchored to civil rights. He
starts as a virtual unknown and Muslims make up a tiny
percentage of people living in California.
To be competitive and grow beyond a niche candidacy, he must
craft a message that resonates with the large, diverse pool of
voters in a state that is home to one of every eight Americans.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the incumbent, is barred by term
limits from seeking a third term and is running for governor.
Mahmood, a Democrat, said he did not think his religion would
be an obstacle in a state known for diversity.
Mahmood said his experience running a medical practice and
volunteering at free clinics that treat poor populations gave
him the credentials to campaign for healthcare reform.
He supports protecting Obamacare and expanding Medicare to
Californiaís lieutenant governor post is largely ceremonial,
but the lieutenant governor leads the state when the governor
travels outside it and can break tie votes in the state senate.
The lieutenant governor also has a seat on the board of
regents of the 10-campus University of California. Mahmood said
he would use it to influence higher education reform.
Mahmood said he wants to provide a free community college
education and doesnít support fee hikes, such as the recent
California State University tuition increase.
"I believe that education is the main asset that any nation
can have, any society can have," he said.
State senator Ed Hernandez, also a Democrat, is the only
other declared candidate for lieutenant governor.
The field is sure to grow ahead of the November 2018 vote.
Associated Press writer Michael Blood in Los Angeles
contributed to this report