First Muslim Woman to Seek County Office Is a Student
By Brian Kern
Plainfield: Shejea Khan, a 21-year-old IUPUI student from Plainfield, has filed paperwork indicating her intent to run for an at-large seat on the Hendricks County Council, making the 2005 Plainfield High School graduate the first Muslim woman here to ever run for an elected county office.
Khan gained the attention of many back in 2005 after she and her sister Mariyam co-founded Career Zones, a Plainfield-based tutoring service. At that time she was the youngest business owner in Hendricks County.
Career Zones has since expanded and now offers online tutoring and distance learning programs.
Khan is entering her fourth year at IUPUI and is pursuing a triple major in business management, international business, and human resources. She also serves as secretary of the Minorities in Business Club.
"Being a business owner in Plainfield and with issues out there like property taxes, I needed to get into politics and help to change some of the things going on in Hendricks County," Khan said.
Khan will run as a Democrat in the November election and Hendricks County Democratic Party Chairperson Len Behling says that the party has high hopes for her political career.
"She is an excellent young woman, very intelligent, enterprising, and a nice young lady," Behling said, adding that Career Zones will now double as Khan's campaign headquarters.
Khan's campaign will take a slightly different approach than many. She plans to engage in a county-wide listening tour in order to become well-versed in the issues concerning county residents, a move that Behling says is unique, especially for a part-time office.
"It's usually the guys gunning for the big jobs in the statehouse, but she's really determined to get her message out there," Behling said.
Khan said she plans to have sit down conversations with a number of various town and county entities over the coming weeks.
"I want to go around to local police and fire stations and see what change people need - whether it's with their budget or anything and how I can help bring that," she said. "I'm here to listen to them and see what the needs are and if I'm elected I will work for those changes."
When asked if she was afraid that her age would pose a concern for some voters, Khan said that she believes the opportunity to meet face to face on her speaking tour will help to alleviate any of the concerns residents might have.
"I think it will take care of itself through interaction," Khan said. "A lot of the people I've been talking to want a fresh face and this younger generation is really into politics, especially with this year's election. I bring a different experience. Courtesy Hendricks County Flyer.