Loudoun County 2019 General Election | Democrat Party | Suhas Subramanyam 2

Democrat Suhas Subramanyam takes photos at the Democratic campaign party in Brambleton after being elected to represent the 87th District in the Virginia House of Delegates on Election Day in 2019. 

For Suhas Subramanyam, the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more time to spend with a special new family member — his first child, Maya Peña.

Subramanyam and his wife, Miranda Peña, welcomed daughter Maya a few months after the new lawmaker became the first Indian and Hindu American to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in November.

While juggling being a new dad and his work as an attorney, the 34-year-old has also been navigating the challenges of being a freshman lawmaker, the duties for which include addressing concerns for a fast-growing district and learning the ins and outs of the Richmond process.

As if that wasn’t enough, Subramanyam has also joined the Loudoun Medical Reserve Corps as part of the medical swabbing team that helps test people for COVID-19.

“I just want to do whatever I can to help our community as we’re going through this crisis right now, and this is just one way of me using my skills to do that,” Subramanyam told the Times-Mirror.

Oh yeah, Subramanyam also serves as a volunteer EMT and firefighter and is a member of the Loudoun Health Council.

Subramanyam says he initially shied away from elected office. While his parents always taught him that family and community are the two most important things in life, they also didn’t view holding public office as a particular “noble profession” given the political climate of Virginia and the nation in recent years.

Subramanyam said his interest in civic service started with community projects at Tulane University in Louisiana and continued to evolve after college.

Suhas Subramanyam

Suhas Subramanyam (D), joined by family in Richmond, was sworn in as the 87th District delegate in early 2020.

After the 2019 election, he succeeded fellow Democrat John Bell in the House of Delegates this year after Bell was elected to the Senate. Subramanyam’s win came during a transformational time for the General Assembly, with Eileen Filler-Corn becoming the first female speaker of the House and Louise Lucas the first female pro-tempore of the Senate.

Embracing the “new commonwealth,” Subramanyan joined forces with several lawmakers to create the Commonwealth Caucus designed to increase bipartisanship in the General Assembly. He was named the co-chairman.

“I represent everyone,” Subramanyam said. “I don’t just represent one community, but I think people want to see an example of someone in their community being able to have a seat at the table, because it makes them feel like they can do it too. I think that’s important to see.”

He chuckled recalling his first moments with fellow lawmakers. If legislators weren’t discussing bills, their constituents or some of the Richmond process with him, Subramanyam said they were asking him about being a vegetarian — something that changed the cafeteria selection in the House of Delegates chambers. And for at least one lawmaker, Subramanyam was the first South Asian that person met in person, he said.

During his first session, Subramanyam worked to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, address gun violence, ensure voter rights and oppose higher toll rates on the Dulles Greenway.

Subramanyam said he was disappointed some of his efforts to address criminal justice reform failed earlier this year, but he was optimistic about the special session that began Tuesday. He believes some of his colleagues may have been swayed by peaceful protests and the high-profile incidents of recent months. He said members in the General Assembly who wanted to “play it safe” are starting to embrace reform efforts following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“I think people of color have endured quite a bit since the start of this country, and every time we think we’ve turned the corner, there’s lots of evidence that we haven’t completely gotten to where we need to be,” Subramanyam said.

One piece of legislation the delegate was disappointed to see continued to next year was aimed at improving the bail process. In many instances, the delegate said, judges or magistrates don’t set bail for people charged with a crime, and the suspects then have to wait in jail for certain misdemeanors. Subramanyam said not allowing people the opportunity to make bond can dramatically impact their lives and livelihoods. It’s even worse if they didn’t commit the crime.

“It disproportionately affects communities of color,” Subramanyam said. “Virginia is one of the few states that has those types of rules in place and is one of the worst states when it comes to bail.”

Overall, he’s happy to see efforts made to improve policing as well as the mental health system.

“It affects everyone,” Subramanyam said. “We need changes all across our criminal justice system, and I’m glad these protests have highlighted one important change, which is the treatment of African American people and other people of color.”

Related to human rights and addressing racism, here are some of the actions the delegate said he will support:

• Declaration of racism as a public health crisis in the commonwealth: This would also include uncovering racial disparities.

• Comprehensive reform of the justice system: Priorities include automatic expungements, re-instituting parole for certain offenses, reforming solitary confinement, bail reform (HB 652) and good behavior sentence credits.

• Preventing excessive force: Banning the use of chokeholds, increasing accountability through the use of body cams, requiring police departments to obtain liability insurance, enacting a civilian review board, passing “Breonna’s Law” to ban no-knock warrants and banning the use of tear gas on civilians.

• Replace law enforcement’s role in certain areas with trained specialists: Unbundling/divesting from certain police functions and reapportioning/re-targeting their functions to crime prevention in hopes of preventing injustice.

“These are just some of the ways we can create a safer, more equitable law enforcement and criminal justice system for all people,” Subramanyam said. “I hope we can take these significant steps forward this coming special session.”

(31) comments

aroshan

What a tank, proud to have him represent us in Cascades.

WesternSky

He's a disgrace to Virginia and Loudoun County.

amerigirl

Why? You make a statement with no reason?

WesternSky

Please forgive me -- I mixed this person up with Ibraheem Samirah. Since I cannot delay, I did want to correct the error.

More Cowbell

Wow, I failed to miss his accomplishments for the year while being a freshman... he volunteered some, millions do that everyday. His wife had a baby, Again, millions of families go through that with 1 or both parents working. Didn't pass any bills, discussed a few topics. And even got to stay home to do nothing vs being in Richmond. I can think of everyday people/jobs/careers that do 100 times more good for the community but the media turns their back on them.

amerigirl

WOW, I guess you missed it in the article too. Here’s a refresher; joined with several lawmakers to create the Commonwealth Caucus designed to increase bipartisanship in the General Assembly, worked to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, address gun violence, ensure voter rights and oppose higher toll rates on the Dulles Greenway, addressed criminal justice reform. He was just sworn in in January, what did you expect? Why are you so offended that they covered him? It’s not like they did something wrong. How do you even know if they tried to contact other first year people or not? Condemn first, then ask questions?

More Cowbell

Most people do more in a week then what he/the media claims. It only states he backed these or helped write(whatever that means anymore). Unless he did something that would stand out, There isn't anything here as usual from AWOL media.

amerigirl

So if the media doesn't list everything he has done or you feel it was inadequate why wouldn't you just check out what he did do? These small articles hardly ever have all the facts no matter which local outlet they are in.

Yes we can!

He also passed the biggest ratepayer protection bill this past session that will save Virginia consumers millions of dollars. NPR did an article about it: https://www.wvtf.org/post/why-appalachian-power-may-not-get-rate-hike

Comment deleted.
Yes we can!

You are thinking of Ibraheem Samirah

Comment deleted.
factchecker66

L4T don't you have anything nice to say about anyone? It must be difficult to me in the mean and nasty mode all the time.

Comment deleted.
LetSanityPrevail

You are thinking of Ibraheem Samirah.

Notalib

He say he represents everyone. Does that include his Jewish constituents?

amerigirl

Probably understanding "everyone"?

LoudounPulse

I expect LTM have a similar full page story on Jill Holtzman Vogel. Democrats aren't the only people who represent Loudoun in the General Assembly.

amerigirl

Maybe you should discuss your expectations with he then. She is the one that has to make herself available for interview.

Stepup

Cline had made the LTM his personal social justice forum.

Here is s puff piece on one of the most despicable people to hold office in northern Virginia.

No mention of Subramanyam”s anti- Semitic views or disrespectful behavior.

ace10

Truly.

ltM carries the (D's) water like it's their job.... oh wait...

amerigirl

Is someone forcing you, or LO or anyone else to read it? Oh wait.........you're here of your own free will.

Loudoun Observer

"Cline has made the LTM his personal social justice forum." Glad I wasn't the only one that noticed this.

amerigirl

It's his job, no matter what your opinion of the piece is

amerigirl

Please explain what you are talking about? What has he done that is anti Semitic? or disrespectful?

Yes we can!

I agree with you. Delegate Suhas Subramanyam has never said anything anti Semitic or disrespectful.

Yes we can!

You are thinking of Ibraheem Samirah

Yes we can!

Delegate Subramanyam has never done anything that is anti Semitic or disrespectful. You are thinking about Ibrahim Sameria.

KPPOct91

Del. Subramanyam is a wonderful, kind, decent, extremely intelligent leader. I know him personally and he is one of the most respectful people ever. He doesn’t have a disrespectful or anti-Semitic hair on his being. Please check you facts instead of posting rubbish like this about a truly wonderful person. He doesn’t deserve this at all.

marv

I would like to know what his "Oath of Office" mean to him and just what part of "Shall not be infringed" he doesn't understand.

amerigirl

I'm sure he takes his oath of office seriously. At least he is not trying to benefit himself from his position. Nothing has been infringed. But I guess if you think that every one of your whims is a freedom you may think that. Your freedoms only go as far as they have been granted or interfere with someone else's freedoms.

marv

a g - your self-centered egotism is only exceeded by your self-centered egotism.

amerigirl

Try using a dictionary. There is nothing about self centered about my statement, in fact I didn't mention myself at all. self-cen·tered; preoccupied with oneself and one's affairs. e·go·tism; the practice of talking and thinking about oneself excessively because of an undue sense of self-importance.

mopar19

Must have been a slow week for cline. Covid deaths and racial injustice must be at Zero for the week in loudoun.

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