Pakistani American doctor to run for California lieutenant governor, vows to fight ‘Donald Trump’s hate’

MAMOSA Report — A Pakistani-born doctor has announced that he is joining the 2018 race for lieutenant governor in California with a goal to save the Affordable Care Act, provide free community college education and fight what he termed “Donald Trump’s 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 US Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office, AP reported.

Dr. Asif Mahmood announces he is joining the 2018 race for California’s lieutenant governor in front of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in downtown Los Angeles Nick Ut/AP

“President Trump continues to attack people like me: immigrants, people of color and Muslims,” Mahmood said. “I say President Trump has it all wrong. It’s 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 renowned 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 in Pakistan, 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, Mahmood’s 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, however the state has a large minority population who are traditionally Democrat-leaning with high voting percentage.  In California, people of color own nearly half of all businesses, the San Francisco Bay reported.

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.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the incumbent, is barred by term limits from seeking a third term and is running for governor.

California’s 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.

The Pakistani-American doctor, 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 health care reform.

Mahmood said he wants to provide a free community college education and doesn’t 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.

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