Mansimran Singh Kahlon
Mansimran Singh Kahlon (second from right), Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates from the 13th District, with his family at the 2017 Punjabi Mela held on Mother’s Day at the Bull Run Regional Park in Virginia.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — India-born Democrat Mansimran Singh Kahlon has officially declared his candidacy for Virginia’s House of Delegates, he hopes to become the state’s first Sikh-American elected official.

Kahlon is bidding for the seat which represents the state’s 13th District, which encompasses Gainesville and Manassas Park in Prince William County.

“Currently, there is no Sikh in any state elected office or state legislature in the entire country,” Kahlon told the American Bazaar. Primary elections for the Virginia House of Delegates are just around the corner — June 13 — with statewide elections slated for November 7.

A resident of Gainesville, Kahlon has spent the entirety of his stay in the U.S. in northern Virginia since arriving to the country at the ripe age of three. He attended Rutgers University and now runs a trucking company as a local business owner. Kahlon is hoping to unseat Bob Marshall, a 24-year Republican incumbent in a district which is over 60 percent white and about 11 percent Asian. He remains undeterred.

“I’m really passionate about serving our community and the general community,” he told the Bazaar. 

Kahlon also spoke about the upswing in racial attacks on Indian-Americans and other minorities and the divisive rhetoric, directed in large part against Muslims.

“If people are going after others right now, what makes us think that we are not being targeted,” he said. “Sikhs have been targeted post 9/11. It’s time we stand up for not only ourselves, but others. Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, all have to realize that we are all stronger together, not divided. There are many forces out there trying to divide us. Together, we can accomplish legislation that is aimed at making our lives easier, and that of our neighbors.”

“I never put the interests of my community above or below others – we are all the same,” Kahlon said. “We all have the same vision where our kids can walk the cul-de-sac without the fear of the pigment of their skin.”