WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rohini Kosoglu is bringing the voice of Toms River to the White House.
Kosoglu is the Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris. Born and raised in Toms River, she attended Cedar Grove Elementary School, Intermediate East and High School East in Toms River.
As the mother of three young boys, she’s looking forward to COVID to be over. D.C. is a long way from Toms River, and she misses Rich’s Ice Cream and Charlie’s Pizza.
After Toms River, she attended the University of Michigan and George Washington University. Then literally worked her way up from the mail room to be a legislative aide for Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and then Policy Director for Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, where she oversaw economic, health care and budget issues. She joined Kamala Harris’ team when the vice president was a senator, eventually becoming her chief of staff. She has negotiated several bipartisan bills into law and served as a senior health care advisor during the drafting and passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Her father, Dr. Wijeyadevendram Ravindran, has worked as an Emergency Room doctor at Community Medical Center for over 30 years.
He always stressed to her that a physician should treat people no matter what they are able to pay and she’s brought that ethic with her.
She will be advising Harris on domestic policy – anything that could come in front of her.
“It’s a deep sense of responsibility, bringing voices of people who are not in the room,” she said. “We strive to elevate that voice.” She was the first South Asian American woman to serve as Chief of Staff in the United States Senate. This was when she worked for Harris in California. Harris brought her on as Chief of Staff for her presidential campaign, and now to D.C.
“I find the job a huge responsibility and also an opportunity,” she said.
Toms River – and the Jersey Shore in general – is going through tough times. Not just the pandemic, but the opioid epidemic as well.
“So many local businesses and people are hurting. Our government has to work for these people,” she said. On a larger scale, the country is facing numerous crises: “economic, COVID, climate change, and a reckoning on race” to name a few. The federal government must hold itself to the highest standards to address these issues.