Nepali-American Sarahana Shrestha contesting NY State Assembly election

Born and raised in Kathmandu, Shrestha, who moved to the US in 2001, is a climate organizer, a graphic designer and a creative writer

NL Today

  • Read Time 2 min.

New York: Sarahana Shrestha, an American citizen of Nepali origin, is contesting the New York State Assembly election in District 103. She is the first Nepali immigrant to run for NY state assembly, a state with one of the oldest and largest Nepali communities.

Shrestha, a first-generation immigrant and a climate organizer residing in the Town of Esopus, is endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, and For the Many, a grassroots organization formerly known as Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson.

Born and raised in Kathmandu, Shrestha went to the United States in 2001 when Nepal was undergoing a prolonged civil war. 

A graphic designer and a creative writer, Shrestha has advocated for the rights of the working people. When Shrestha decided to become an American citizen in 2019, she started organizing local programs  for security in housing, healthcare, and climate.

Recently, Shrestha helped run Phil Erner’s successful campaign for Ulster County Legislature in District 6, a campaign she saw as an urgent step to help residents recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The campaign, she thought, was also to protect residents from future emergencies, which are likely to occur under climate change.

Shrestha’s vision of a green transition includes a publicly-controlled democratic energy system that would bring sustainable, green and union jobs to the Hudson Valley. 

The simultaneous collapse of safety nets and the enrichment of the wealthy during the pandemic confirmed Sarahana’s belief that the investments of the future must be in public goods.  

“It’s dangerous to allow an erosion of faith in democracy,” says Shrestha, “We need to make sweeping investments in things that are essential to our well-being. Our democracy needs to be open and vibrant. Public offices should not exist to serve personal careers, they exist to serve the public and democracy.”

“Our democracy makes it very difficult for new, especially young, people to run for office. A few people hold the power to decide how we want to tackle big issues like the economy and the climate crisis. Shrestha is courageous enough to run for New York State Assembly, and her courage comes from her dedication to creating a government that is several steps ahead of the challenges,” said Mid-Hudson Valley DSA Steering Committee member Cynthia Gilkeson.

Likewise, Jonathan Bix, Executive Director for For the Many, said, “A community organizer, Shrestha empowered her community in the fight for universal healthcare and bold climate action. Now, she’s bringing that bold vision for a better Hudson Valley to Albany. We’re excited to work with Sarahana to realize a New York that works for the many, not the greedy few.”