Georgetown Law student runs to unseat Georgia state senator indicted with Trump

February 3, 2024

Design by Ryan Goodwin

When residents of Johns Creek, Georgia heard that Ashwin Ramaswami was running to be their representative in the state senate, there was a decent chance they already knew him. Even after studying computer science at Stanford University, working in Silicon Valley, and pursuing his J.D. at Georgetown University Law, Ramaswami decided he could make the most impact in the place he calls home. 

Ramaswami has spent the last month in Georgia District 48 grabbing coffee with constituents and holding town halls, among other campaign events. The 24-year-old hopes the north Atlanta suburb will choose him to be the state’s first Indian-American, Hindu, and Gen Z legislator come November. 

All the while, Ramaswami flies back to D.C. weekly for classes and to teach at a local Hindu temple as he completes his third year of law school.

“It is nice to be somewhere like D.C. where it’s like the center of everything; you’re able to work on policy,” Ramaswami told the Voice in an interview. “But I think something I’ve realized is, all too often, the place where you grew up is perhaps the place which needs you the most. It’s a place where you can really contribute back.” 

The opportunity to fuse his policy, law, and technology interests in the nation’s capital are what drew Ramaswami to Georgetown for law school. He said that he’s continued to learn the value of bridging different disciplines working with the Institute for Technology Law & Policy and the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, where he helped establish the Judicial Innovation Fellowship Program to improve access to justice by bringing better tech to court systems. 

Building the program helped him realize the important work being done in government on the state and local level but also the support they need, he said. The work partially influenced his decision to run for office. 

According to Dhruv Peri (MSB ’26), a campaign volunteer, their fundraising has already reached over $150,000, including contributions from Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. He said that the campaign is both focusing on spreading its message to voters ahead of the May election and helping make sure that District 48 swings back to blue in November. 

Flipping the district is especially important as Ramaswami’s opponent, should he win the primary, is the incumbent Republican Shawn Still. The district’s first-term state senator was indicted last year for falsely declaring himself as one of the state’s electors and certifying that former President Donald Trump won the state.

“Back home, my state senator was indicted for trying to overturn the 2020 election, and that’s the exact opposite work of what I was doing,” Ramaswami said, referring to his time building election technology at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to secure the 2020 presidential election. “I realized that people like me should step up and put ourselves out there as a choice for voters to have, because we need people with integrity, expertise who can actually do the right thing.”

Ramaswami’s time at CISA taught him that there is “a lot of good work being done by nonpartisan civil servants.” But after Trump fired CISA director Christopher Krebs for releasing a statement that affirmed the security of the 2020 election, Ramawami learned that nonpartisan civil servitude isn’t always enough, motivating his run for office.

“It’s super important to have technologists in government, but if you don’t have the right people in politics, you can undermine all that work,” Ramaswami said.

Ramaswami is running as a Democrat but has experience working for officials of both parties. His time at CISA was during both the Trump and Biden presidencies, and he’s recently worked under Republican Attorney General Christopher Carr. 

“I think anyone who gets elected in this district is someone who needs to be someone willing to listen to both sides and someone who’s going to be able to work with people, and that’s exactly my intention,” Ramaswami said. 

“I am bringing in a new voice, which has previously not been there, whether it’s my ethnicity, my technology background, my age. The hope is that people from both parties will recognize that.”

Ramaswami is running on promises to better fund education, expand Medicaid, and improve pay for civil servants, among other reforms. He’s also looking to invigorate the Metro Atlanta economy by encouraging entrepreneurship, fixing the district’s roads, and making public transit safer. 

Some of the policies, like education, are informed directly by his experiences in Johns Creek.

“I was fortunate to go to a public school which is one of the best public schools in Georgia in the sense that, [it had the] most amount of funding and most amount of resources, but even my school had trouble,” he said. “The teachers had trouble getting budgets to make sure they could acquire supplies for their classrooms. Teachers were still not paid very well.”

Ramaswami also told the Voice that he is opposed to Georgia’s six-week abortion ban and is in favor of transgender people having access to medical care.

“The government should not interfere with the decisions made with the advice of trained medical professionals,” Ramaswami said in an email.

While Ramaswami hopes to have a direct impact on his home community with his run, he also believes the District 48 election highlights the intersection of local and national politics. He called his campaign against his indicted opponent one of “the most direct opportunit[ies] to hold Republicans accountable for what they did in trying to overturn the 2020 election.” 

“As people say, all politics is local.” 

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Dhruv Peri (MSB ’26) as the campaign’s communications director. He is a volunteer with the campaign. 

Angelena Bougiamas
Angelena is a sophomore studying Political Economy from Queens, New York. She is a fan of print newsmagazines (duh), lemon tea (with honey) and humoring her father by finally updating this bio (hi dad!).

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