U.S House, District 6: Anita Malik emphasizes education, health care

Democrat Anita Malik hopes to represent Arizona’s 6th Congressional District 6 in Congress. She plans to focus on such issues as universal health care, education and economic stability. She says her background as chief operating officer of a technology company gives her a better understanding of how to bring together private and public sectors. (Photo courtesy of Anita for Arizona)

Name: Anita Malik
Political party: Democrat
Position sought: U.S. House of Representatives, District 6
City of residence: Scottsdale
Occupation: Former tech executive and businesswoman

What is the greatest issue Arizona residents face? If elected, how would you address this issue?

“One is education. I think what’s happening in our public schools and funding for education is very critical for everybody,” Malik said. “And then health care – making sure people have access to health care and that it’s not dismantled.”

Malik described herself as a big supporter of the Red for Ed movement and said she protested with teachers last spring.

“I would focus on the federal level, and my big focus is early education and universal pre-K and making sure parents have access to that because the cost right now for day care, let alone education, is extremely high,” Malik said.

Malik also said she supports Medicare for all.

“Politically, it’s going to take us a while to get there,” Malik said. “I would like to see us work on the (Affordable Care Act) and work on fixing those gaps and build it out to get to Medicare for all. There’s a way to do that.”

It’s important to act soon, she said.

“While we’re politically bickering and fighting between party politics, people are dying,” she said. “People are going bankrupt.”

In October, in a video on Facebook, Malik announced her husband had been diagnosed with a health condition. She said the family health crisis reaffirmed her commitment to fighting for better health care for all.

What her family went through, she said, “this is what happens to families every day.”

The experience, she said, emphasized the importance of ensuring pre-existing conditions are covered by health insurance policies.

What other issues are important to you and your campaign?

Malik, 42, who’s the daughter of two immigrants from India, said she is a big proponent of campaign finance reform.

“Money in politics is the core issue that we’re facing today, and the corruption as well. Campaign finance reform and economic equality, which to me includes education, health care, also living wage and equal pay for women,” Malik said.

What in your past work, political or volunteer experience makes you a better choice to hold this office?

“I don’t have political experience,” she said. “I’m a first-time candidate. But I actually think that’s what makes me a better person right now.”

She said that her experience owning her own businesses brings a different skill set to the table, and she understands how to bring private and public sectors together for success. She published a national magazine called East West and had a tech company.

“The House – being a two-year term – in a lot of ways was not designed for people to be sitting in these offices for so long, growing detached from their district and getting bought in by the system,” she said. “I believe the House was designed this way to bring people in from different sectors in the economy with different backgrounds to solve problems of our country.”

Malik has two bachelor’s degrees from Arizona State University, in finance and computer information systems. She also has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California.

What is a personal challenge you feel you need to overcome?

The biggest challenge she faces is proving she is tough enough for this campaign and for the position.

“That is something personally I could address and try to change – or I could just own who I am and let people hear what I have to say first,” Malik said.

Please share a quote or advice that guides you.

She quoted Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Malik said she thought about this quote when she began her campaign. After the 2016 elections, she said, she felt a shift, and she thinks many women experienced something similar.

“I was running a company as a (chief operating officer), and I had my team, but I felt like everything I worked for as a woman, in particular, felt like I needed to find a way to get my hope back,” Malik said.

What app on your phone could you not live without?

“Honestly right now it’s Marco Polo, I use it a lot to talk to my husband and my (two) kids,” Malik said.

Is there anything you would like to add?

“It’s important to listen to your constituents,” Malik said. “My campaign motto is ‘Listen first, and then lead.'”

Campaign website for Anita Malik.

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