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Former Michelle Obama aide enters Maryland governor's race

Former Michelle Obama aide enters Maryland governor's race
© Courtesy Krish Vignarajah campaign

Krishanti Vignarajah, a former policy director for former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama celebrates success of ‘Black Panther’ How textbooks shape teachers — not just their students Michelle Obama dedicates Valentine's Day playlist to Barack Obama MORE, is entering the race for Maryland governor. 

“I am running for Governor because I am worried my daughter will not have the same opportunities my parents gave me when they brought our family here when I was a baby girl," Vignarajah, 37, said in a statement. "I hope Marylanders will agree the best man for the job is a woman.”

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Vignarajah said that, if elected, she would focus on "improving schools, increasing wages, reducing crime, treating drug addiction, alleviating traffic, investing in infrastructure, and protecting" the environment. 

The former Obama administration official also ripped the state's current Republican governor, Larry Hogan, accusing him of running a "deficit in leadership."

"Most of my life, Maryland has been a beacon of hope, opportunity, innovation, and courage. We led the nation in school performance, job creation, and conservation," she said. "But today too many of the students who can least afford to be left behind have been forgotten altogether. Too many workers have been left out. And our precious Chesapeake Bay faces its greatest risks in decades."

Five other Democrats are already vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. They include Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker; Alec Ross, a tech entrepreneur and Obama State Department alum; Maryland state Sen. Richard Madaleno; attorney James Shea; and Ben Jealous, a former NAACP president who has the backing of Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.).

Others, including policy consultant Maya Rockeymoore, the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), have expressed interest in running as well.

Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) announced in July that he would forego a gubernatorial run and would instead mount a bid for the White House in 2020.