STAMFORD – Democratic newcomer Rachel Khanna pounded the pavement last week in search of support for her for run for state representative for Greenwich and Stamford.
Lawn signs supporting her campaign lined Blackberry Drive, a hilly neighborhood in North Stamford, many in clusters accompanied by signs supporting early voting and reproductive rights.
Khanna was a two-term member of the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting before launching her run for a seat in the General Assembly. She said the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in part prompted her run against incumbent State Rep. Kimberly Fiorello.
“I saw what was happening nationally in terms of banning abortion,” she told CT Examiner. “A lot of these issues are what voters are prioritizing. And that’s what compelled me to run in the first place.”
Khanna said that along with reproductive rights, education is a key issue that she has discussed with voters. Khanna’s youngest daughter attended Greenwich High School, and despite the recent uproar directed at local public school officials, Khanna said she’s had a great experience.
A longtime resident of Greenwich, Khanna said she and her husband moved their family to Singapore for two years, giving their children both private and public school experiences. Over dinner, Khanna asked her children which school was their favorite.
“Our youngest said, definitely Greenwich High School.’”
Khanna told CT Examiner that she went out campaigning every afternoon, bouncing back-and-forth between Greenwich and North Stamford. She said she’d canvassed Blackberry Drive earlier this summer, but wanted to stop by again before election day.
Khanna visited Lawrence and Karen, a married couple in their 70s, who recognized Khanna and told her they’d already sent in their absentee ballots.
“We’re early voters,” said Karen.
The couple’s front yard mirrored many others in the neighborhood with signs in support of Khanna.
“Save democracy, save the environment, save women. Come on guys – vote Democrat,” Lawrence said. “What else are we doing here?”
“No pressure,” Khanna joked.
Lawrence said that as retired educators, both Karen and him were excited about Khanna’s focus on education and economics.
“Your values and priorities are really in line with ours,” Karen said. “I think it’s very important that you’re putting out what’s not correct and what is correct about our economy. It’s not failing. It’s doing really well, so I like that you’re very clear about that.”
All three said they support Gov. Ned Lamont’s efforts to improve the economy. Khanna said filling the 113,000 open jobs would be a challenge, but it was “a good place to be in.”
“This is a place people want to live,” Lawrence said. “They want the kinds of things that we offer here. We want good education and we want women’s reproductive rights taken care of.”
Up the street, Khanna caught up with a voter, Ajmal, whom she spoke to on the phone the day prior. He thanked her for coming and requested a sit down.
“I think you should stop by and have a cup of coffee some time to talk about your mission and maybe I would like to add something,” Ajmal said. “Especially for senior citizens, because we always talk about those who are already enriched.”
Ajmal said that as a former United Nation representative ambassador, he and Khanna had a lot in common.
“I worked a lot on poverty alleviation and food security and international development issues, so I would like to connect with you,” Ajmal said.
Khanna told CT Examiner that she makes a lot of phone calls to voters, but canvassing neighborhoods was her favorite part of campaigning.
“I’ve gotten to meet really interesting people,” Khanna said. “The phones are a little trickier because you don’t have that face-to-face. But it’s been really nice to see people and discover new areas.”