HAYWARD (KPIX 5) – As Congressman Eric Swalwell makes a bid for the White House, some local politicians are already gunning for his seat.
The stage is already set, literally, at Dublin High School for Swalwell’s rally planned for Sunday at 2 p.m.
Hayward City Councilwoman Aisha Wahab was the first to announce she’s going to run for his seat.
“Everything I’m doing on a local level in Hayward, I want to bring that to a national level,” says Wahab.
She is one of the first Afghan women in the country to be elected to public office, and now she’s running for the U.S. House seat currently occupied by four-term Congressman Eric Swalwell.
“On the Congressional level, I think that we need more voices of everyday people like myself,” Wahab said.
Already some political experts are comparing Wahab with the popular freshman Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who Wahab met last year.
“She champions the issues that matter to her and her district and I really respect that passion,” said Wahab.
She says there are three main issues she wants to focus on for the Tri-Valley area that include expanding Medicare for all, increasing wages, and reducing student loan debt by providing affordable educational opportunities.
“The American dream is going to be alive and well and that’s where we’re fighting to expand the middle class,” she says.
Wahab says she’s passionate about the issues because of her upbringing. “I’ve always been seen as an outsider. I was in foster care before I could tie my own shoes.”
She faced an uphill battle to be elected to the Hayward City Council in November of 2018, facing discrimination and threats due to the fact she is a Muslim Afghan woman. But, she says none of that will stop her. “That is what the American dream promises you, is that regardless of where you come from, what you look like, what you believe in, you can make something of yourself.”
Swalwell hasn’t made any official announcements about whether he will run for re-election in his current House seat. The filing deadline isn’t until next December.
Wahab says it doesn’t matter who else is in the race, she is still running.