Rajkumar, a public interest lawyer, educator and former state government official, is running for the state Assembly in District 38, which spans Glendale, Woodhaven and parts of Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Ridgewood.
If elected, she would be the first South Asian American ever elected in the Assembly.
“I’m running because this area of Queens where I’m running has been overlooked for a very, very long time,” she said. “I believe I have the energy, skill, ability and knowledge of government to bring in the funding and resources that we need.”
Rajkumar’s parents settled in Jamaica after they immigrated from India. Though she was brought up in Westchester County, Rajkumar has lived all around the country, from California to Washington D.C. to Lower Manhattan.
After graduating from Stanford Law School, she worked for a civil rights law firm and taught as an adjunct professor at CUNY Lehman College in the Bronx. For the last two years, she served as director of immigration affairs and special counsel for Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In that role, Rajkumar led the $31 million Liberty Defense Project, an initiative to assist immigrants across New York with obtaining legal services.
“In that position, I came to my district a lot to advocate for immigrants,” she said.
Her policy platform includes pushing for better public transportation, improving public safety and bringing more funding to schools.
“I believe that an energetic representative who gets in there, understands Albany, who is ready to stand up, can change that situation,” she said.
For a district that is 40 percent South Asian American, Rajkumar said, it has never been represented by a member of that community.
“Somebody like me can help my constituents navigate our government institutions,” she said. “That’s what I can do for my constituents.”