Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Darnestown Resident Katragadda Aruna Miller Becomes Newest State Delegate

Katragadda Aruna Miller -- a transportation engineer, Darnestown resident and mother of three -- became the newest member of the House of Delegates for District 15 Tuesday, after handily defeating Republican opponents.

With all 39 precincts reporting in District 15, incumbents Kathleen Dumais and Brian Feldman took the most votes with 20.69 and 20.35 percent of the votes respectively. Aruna came in third with 18.80 percent of the votes, beating the most voted for Republican, Graham Scott, by more than 4 percent of the votes.

Aruna celebrated with her family and friends at Pasha Lounge in the Kentlands on Tuesday night.

"I couldn't have done this without the support of my husband, my family and my kids," said Aruna.

District 15 State Senator Rob Garagiola also stopped by to congratulate Aruna. In a speech, Aruna credited Garagiola for encouraging her to enter the race.

Several of Aruna's relatives and friends traveled from other states and regions to support her and help campaign at the polls.

Among them was her uncle, Mohan Katragadda, who she described as the patriarch of her family. He traveled from Chicago.

"We are very excited," said Katragadda.

Katragadda recently held a fundraiser in Chicago for Aruna with the Indian community. Several Indian newspapers and television stations covered the event, and the news was broadcast in the area of Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where their family originally came from.
"The whole of Andhra Pradesh will be excited for her," said Katragadda.

Aruna's sister-in-law Neelima Katragadda traveled from Indianappolis to support her.
"All the family was out at the polls today," said Neelima. "Family from India called and said they saw her broadcasted."

Bazil Thomas, an old family friend who lives in Michigan, said support for Aruna has gone beyond just her family.

"There's family, friends and the network, it all becomes like a big family," said Thomas. "The Indian community can be very loyal."

Aruna said she expects to see even more of her extended family and network to travel to Maryland when she is sworn into office in January.

About Katragadda Aruna:

Aruna Miller was born in Ventrapragada village, Krishna Dist, AP, India and arrived in the United States in 1972. Along with her two siblings and parents, Aruna lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, where IBM employed her father Katragadda Venkata Rama Rao as a mechanical engineer. She attended public schools in New York and then attended Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, where she was graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering.

In 1990, Aruna moved to Montgomery County, Maryland where she married her college sweetheart, David Miller. Aruna and David have been happily married for twenty years and have three daughters: Meena, Chloe, and Sasha who attend Montgomery County Public Schools.

Through her career as a transportation engineer, Aruna has worked in Virginia, Hawaii, and California. However for the last twenty years, she has been employed by Montgomery County as a transportation engineer. She has overseen programs that advanced access to schools, employment centers, and community facilities that are safe for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, and those with disability.

As a Democrat, Aruna has worked on fund raising efforts for presidential candidates and also has worked as a precinct official. In December 2006, Aruna successfully ran to represent Montgomery County Democrats as an At-Large member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. As a member of the Central Committee, she helped initiate New Voter Education to motivate and mobilize young people to take advantage of their right to vote. She also chairs Serving Our Communities (SOC), an initiative to strengthen communities with volunteers to promote core Democratic values such as healthcare, education, and protection of our environment. SOC strives to cultivate leadership, philanthropy, and foster respect for all. To date, SOC has volunteered their talents to Women Who Care, The Tree House, S.H.A.R.E [Self Help and Resource Exchange], Montgomery County Homeless Coalition, and Friends of Sligo Creek.
Aruna also serves on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation, Inc. (MCPS EF). The MCPS EF provides scholarships for MCPS students and academic-enriching opportunities for students/staff through grants. Since its inception, the MCPS EF has awarded more than 1 million dollars in scholarships in addition to more than $900,000 in grants.

Aruna is fortunate to have served the residents of Montgomery County for the past twenty years.
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