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Politics

Sia Kyriakakos is Running for Congress in Maryland

BALTIMORE – Determined to mount a serious election campaign, with a focus on social issues emphasizing public education, first generation Greek-American educator Sia Kyriakakos spoke to The National Herald about her great endeavor. She is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland’s 2nd District, which has a total of six candidates.

“This process is fascinating to me. I’m learning things about the U.S. political system. However, the campaign requires a lot of leg work. I go door-to-door to make myself known,” Kyriakakos says, aware of the challenges.

With roots in Sparta and Kalavryta, Kyriakakos grew up essentially in Greece, as her parents made the decision – temporarily – to repatriate, apparently concerned about the high crime rates in the area where they lived in Maryland. They were also influenced by social problems that had affected their wider family. “My father initially worked with a Greek entrepreneur, Mr. Paterakis, making bread. Later, they bought the ‘Mama Mia’ diner, which is across from Johns Hopkins Hospital, which now dominates this market. But in the 1970s, they were literally in the ghetto. Things were tough in Baltimore. My father saw all this and believed that the U.S. was generally a violent country. We had issues with some of my cousins, who unfortunately got involved with drugs, and my family became afraid and returned to Greece.”

Kyriakakos continued, relating that “from ages six to 16, I lived in Greece. These were very special years that shaped me in many ways. After all, I became politicized in Greece, as the political element was intense. I was also nurtured in the arts. The aesthetic of village, mountains, old buildings, new building is part of myself and how I see the world.”

An educator, working at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School, Kyriakakos is also the Director of the Greek School of the Annunciation- Evangelismos Cathedral in Maryland. In 2017, she was named Educator of the Year in the state of Maryland, and she was also nominated for Educator of the Year at the federal level. In 2017, she joined the Fulbright program and stayed in Greece for several months with her two daughters, who, she says, “fell in love with Greek culture.”

Interestingly enough, she said that, “as part of the candidacy for Educator of the Year, I had the opportunity to travel across the country, but also abroad. I spoke to entrepreneurs and politicians about my students and educational policy. We were invited, but it was superficial – they were not really interested in our opinions. At a conference in San Diego, I asked someone in charge why they do not allocate more funds for education, in the 21st century. The answer I received was that it is cheaper for the country to import talent than to educate our own. I have no problem with imported talent, in a way I am also considered ‘imported’. But it bothers me that there is no development of the talent of the children we have here.”

Kyriakakos emphasized that this situation was the main motive for her to run for Congress. Implementing a campaign that has to face, among others, a very strong and seasoned candidacy, such as that of John ‘Johnny O’ Olszewski, Jr., Kyriakakos expresses her satisfaction with the fact that the educational community and broader societal circles have embraced her, from former students to her colleagues, who are trying to contribute, each in their own way, to her candidacy. More information about Sia Kyriakakos’ campaign can be found on the campaign’s official website, www.siaforcongress.com.

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