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Dr. Ghazala Hashmi responds to racist sentiments: ‘I will never let negativity weigh me down’

CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- Democratic challenger Ghazala Hashmi upset incumbent Glen Sturtevant (R) on Tuesday, to win the race for State Senate District 10.

But just moments after the results came in, racist comments flooded news stories about Dr. Ghazala Hashmi becoming the first Muslim American to serve in the state senate.

Some of these comments were left on CBS 6's Facebook page. One person called Dr. Hashmi a disgrace to Virginia. While others wrote comments such as "sickening".

Dr. Hashmi told CBS 6 she is not letting those kinds of comments bring her down. Instead, she said she looks forward to making her mark.

"I will never let negativity weigh me down and I've always been an optimistic person regarding our humanity," Dr. Hashmi said.

Hashmi’s victory over Sturtevant was a huge win for Democrats who will now hold the majority in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate for the first time in nearly 25 years.

Hashmi has spent the last 25 years as an educator in Virginia’s college and university system. She now serves at Reynolds Community College as the Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Her family moved to America as a child and she moved to Richmond in 1991.

Hashmi says she chose to run for State Senate District 10 because marginalized communities are "unheard, unseen, and unrepresented," something she wanted to change. She lists several democratic priorities, like preventing gun violence and climate change, among her top issues.

State Senate District 10 includes portions of Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond plus all of Powhatan County.

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