I bet many of you are wondering:
Who the heck is Solomon Rajput? Well, let me tell you.
I’m the son of the American dream. My parents are Muslim, Pakistani immigrants who had heard about a beautiful place named America and wanted to check it out for themselves. My dad was a doctor in Pakistan, and while he was getting himself established as a doctor in America, things were tough. We had to move in with my aunt as my dad studied for his exams.
My family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan when I was 8 years old. I’m proud to say that I’m the product of public schools; I went to Bryant Elementary, Pattengill Elementary, Tappan Middle School, and Pioneer High School. While in high school, I was class president for 3 years and gave the commencement speech. Even back then, I felt like I wanted to tackle some of the big problems that our society faces, but I felt like I couldn’t do it through politics. All of our politicians seemed like they were bought and sold by lobbyists, so I felt like we couldn’t count on the government to solve our problems. After high school, I headed off to New Hampshire to attend Dartmouth College, and I was looking for ways outside of politics to make an impact.
While at Dartmouth, I started learning about how so many chronic illnesses in America could be prevented if people ate healthier. It was mind blowing to me: if we could just help people eat healthier, we could prevent so much suffering. I wanted to tackle this problem, so I founded a few startups that were focused on helping people build healthy eating habits. Startups taught me the value of perseverance: I wanted to build a mobile app for one startup, but I couldn’t find anyone to build it so I had to teach myself to code.
Ultimately I realized that our country’s healthcare deficiencies were far too big of a problem for one startup to handle. I thought that maybe I could change healthcare from within as a doctor, so I applied to medical school and enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School in 2017. I’ve loved my time in medical school, but since I started two years ago, I’ve accrued over $100,000 in student debt.
During the 2016 election, when Bernie Sanders came onto the scene, I fell in love with his progressive ideas. But when he lost, I knew that our most urgent mission was to defeat Donald Trump. So I became a field organizer for Hillary in the general election in my hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I was one of the top 3 organizers in the state.
But Hillary lost, which was a pretty huge bummer. Everyone was devastated. After moping around for a bit, I decided I needed to do something. So I founded an activist organization called The Michigan Resistance. We stop bad bills in the Michigan state legislature by getting together at calling parties and calling lawmakers nonstop. Since we’ve started, we’ve made over 30,000 calls and helped stop over a dozen pieces of legislation, including a bill that would’ve allowed guns in schools. I’ve been fighting the good fight for a few years now.
Recently, I’ve realized that some problems like our healthcare system and our student debt crisis can only be solved by the government taking bold, decisive action. And I believe that now we are in a moment where the public is demanding for the government to act in a big way. We are starting to elect people who are not taking corporate money and who are not beholden to corporate interests. Instead, they’re in office to push a courageous vision of what America could be. These elected officials have helped me believe in the power of government again. If we get the right people in office, our government can do unbelievable things to improve people’s lives. Given the urgency of the problems we’re facing, and this new feeling that right now maybe we can actually change something, I felt the call to get out there and fight for what I believe in.