Indian American candidates in New York had a great night June 23 in the New York state primary, with Jenifer Rajkumar and Jeremy Cooney winning their state-level races.
Rajkumar was successful in her bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Michael Miller, winning with 49.47 percent of the vote (2,624 votes) to Miller’s 24.51 percent (1,300 votes). Joseph de Jesus finished third with 20.89 percent and 1,108 votes, according to the New York Registrar of Voters.
Jenifer is a lawyer, Professor at CUNY and former New York State Government official. With early roots in public service and giving back, Jenifer graduated from Stanford Law School with distinction for her pro bono legal work on behalf of vulnerable individuals. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at the top of her class magna cum laude, phi beta kappa where she received the Alice Paul Award for exemplary service to women and families.
Jenifer has been dynamic, passionate and persistent in her efforts to make a difference in the lives of others. For Jenifer, service is a way of life. She served for years as the people’s lawyer, fighting corporate fraud and excess, and advocating for workers, women, and families in vulnerable situations. Later, she served at high levels of state government, appointed by the Governor of New York as a Special Counsel and as Director of Immigration Affairs for New York State. She also proudly dedicates her time to uplifting our city’s youth, as a Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York (CUNY).
But her proudest accomplishments are for her neighbors right here at home. For her work for the people of Queens providing access to counsel to people in vulnerable situations, and working for youth and immigrant communities, the Queens Courier honored her as a 2017 “Rising Star” and the Queens Tribune awarded her its “Glass Ceiling Award” for being a path-breaking woman serving the Queens community.
The Governor of New York Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Jenifer as the Director of Immigration Affairs & Special Counsel for New York State in the age of Trump. Working out of New York’s Department of State and the Governor’s Executive Chamber, Jenifer led the Liberty Defense Project, a first-in-the-nation $31 million dollar state-led public-private project to assist immigrants in obtaining legal services. Jenifer also represented New York State in litigation before Administrative Law Judges. She served as an ethics officer, handling ethics matters for the State. She was a state-wide surrogate for the Governor on the State’s signature policy items. She traveled from the farms of upstate New York to her home in Queens to help New York’s communities. Inspired by the people of New York, she is more motivated than ever to dedicate herself to service.