Photo via Krish for Maryland

Another Democrat has joined the contest to unseat Gov. Larry Hogan in next year’s gubernatorial election. This one brings White House policy experience and her background as a high-achieving first-generation American to the table.

Krish Vignarajah announced her candidacy Wednesday afternoon, highlighting schools, wages, crime, drugs, infrastructure and environmental concerns about the Chesapeake Bay as top issues in her platform.

“I am running for Governor because I am worried my daughter will not have the same opportunities my parents gave me when they brought our family here when I was a baby girl,” she said in a statement. “I hope Marylanders will agree the best man for the job is a woman.”

Vignarajah served as policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama, and was a senior advisor under for both Hillary Clinton and John Kerry when they were President Barack Obama’s secretaries of state. She grew up in the area, and graduated from Woodlawn High School before attending Yale University for undergraduate and graduate school, according to her bio. Both of her parents taught in Baltimore City Schools.

Vignarajah has further crowded a field of Democratic contenders that includes Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, former NAACP president Ben Jealous, state Sen. Richard Madaleno, her Obama administration colleague Alec Ross and local attorney Jim Shea.

Rep. John Delaney was expected to announce, too, but he decided to drop any aspirations of Annapolis in favor of trying to replace Donald Trump in the White House in 2020.

Vignarajah is the first woman to officially enter the 2018 governor’s race. Maya Rockeymoore, Rep. Elijah Cummings’ wife, has expressed interest in running but hasn’t formally announced.

Whoever emerges from the Democratic primary next spring will be tasked with taking down a Republican governor with some of the highest approval marks in the country.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...