From Daily offices to State Senate: Ashwin Ramaswami ’21 challenges Republican incumbent in Georgia

Feb. 15, 2024, 6:33 p.m.

Ashwin Ramaswami graduated from Stanford in 2021, where he studied computer science and served as The Daily’s first chief technology officer. He currently attends Georgetown University Law Center. Three years after returning to his hometown of Johns Creek, Georgia during the pandemic, Ramaswami is running for state senate in the state’s 48th district. The seat is currently occupied by Republican Shawn Still, who was indicted with former President Donald Trump on charges that he sought to illegally overturn the last presidential election results. Shortly after launching his campaign, Ramaswami spoke to The Daily. 

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and concision. 

The Stanford Daily (TSD): What was your Stanford experience like?

Ashwin Ramaswami (AR): I came into Stanford majoring in computer science, but I was always really interested in the humanities. I did SLE my freshman year. I was quite involved with the intersections of CS and other areas. I was involved with the Center for Spatial and Technological Analysis (CESTA), the digital humanities center on campus and also The Daily as well. My sophomore year I became the first CTO of The Daily. 

What I learned early on was that having a great tech background, I was able to get into spaces and help people out, where I knew tech people wouldn’t be there. These experiences have given me the ability to go and talk to people in spaces that aren’t just tech.

TSD: Can you talk me through your decision to run for office?

AR: I’m the child of immigrants, but I was born and raised in Johns Creek. For a long time, I was interested in how I could give back to my community. I didn’t want to stay in the Bay. I wanted to come and give back. [One motive came from] working in the federal government where we actually worked on election security and did critical work to keep our democracy strong. When I was looking to see how I could get involved in Georgia, [I saw that] the incumbent in the State Senate seat that I’m running against got indicted in the Trump indictment for trying to overturn the 2020 election. He put his political career over the integrity of elections and the right to vote of Georgians, so that’s when I was like, “Oh, this is a problem.”

I realized instead of asking for a candidate, I could be the candidate. I’m from the community. I have strong ties. I’d also break barriers in terms of being the first Indian American and Gen Z member of the Georgia State Senate. So I’d bring a new voice to politics. 

TSD: What issues — other than election integrity — are you hoping to address if elected to office?

AR: One big issue is the economy, making sure that [people] have the same opportunities that I had growing up in Johns Creek. [There needs to be] more entrepreneurship, more investment back in the community. With that also comes investment in education. 

Public safety is [a top priority] as well. We have to make sure our communities are safe. We really want to prevent things like school shootings.

Then there’s the battle over reproductive rights. And I really want to be a voice of reason. We don’t want extremism, whether it’s anti-democratic extremism or if it’s the extremism of not having reproductive rights at all.

TSD: You mentioned that you’d be the first Gen Z member of the Georgia State Senate. How has your age impacted the experience of launching a campaign so far?

AR: It’s a lot of fun. You’re able to talk to so many people, learn so much about what people are facing and be able to be a voice for others.

It’s really about bridging that gap. So, of course, I’m talking to people my age who are excited there’s someone like them representing them, but then I’m talking a lot to people from other generations who have the resources that [Gen Z candidates] need to succeed but also understand we need new voices. The most important thing is your integrity and competence.  

The reason we don’t have many people from Gen-Z in politics is because they have to raise money …  they have to face student debt …  they have to find a job. There are all these structural barriers.

TSD: What’s one piece of advice you got in college and what’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone in college considering someday running for office?

AR: You don’t have to follow the path that everyone else sets for you. It’s so much more inspiring and amazing to do something that no one expects you to do. There are so many ways you can take risks in life, whether it’s running for office or switching from computer science to law. If you have the opportunity to do so, take whatever classes are interesting to you. The more breadth you have, the better. 

My advice is to stay connected to people from your community. It’s really important to have those ties, so people know about your integrity and can vouch for you. Nobody wants to be served by someone random who just suddenly pops in. 

Ultimately, the goal is to serve others. It’s not about you. It’s about how your community can most benefit from your talents.

This article was corrected to reflect that Ramaswami has not completed his juris doctorate at Georgetown. The Daily regrets this error.

Oriana Riley ’25 is a News Managing Editor at The Daily. Every once in a while, she drops an iconic Campus Life article. Outside of The Daily, Oriana enjoys running a lot of miles and eating a lot of food. Contact Oriana at news ‘at’

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