After helping her single mother run India on Wheel, a food truck in Pittsburgh, and launching a tech startup after graduating from Oxford University, Indian-American Bhavini Patel is now running for the U.S. House of Representatives. are doing.
Ms. Patel, 30, announced on October 2 last year her decision to run for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, currently held by her Democratic colleague Summer Lee.
Over the years, Lee has taken extreme positions on several issues, making him unpopular in his constituency.
Notably, Rep. Lee was one of the few members of Congress who boycotted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic joint address to the US Congress in June last year.
In preparation for the first hurdle of the primary, scheduled for April 23, Patel said he has raised more than $310,000, about 70 percent of which has come from within the state.
“This is really representative of the local community and the needs of the local community. “When you think about support from unions, especially coming from Western Pennsylvania, which has a strong history of labor movements, this is a really big issue,” Patel told PTI in a recent interview.
In addition, she has the support of about 33 elected officials, including small town mayors and area councilors.
“There was a lot of knocking on doors, a lot of one-on-one conversations, but we decided to drive a campaign that was truly rooted in the message and community challenges of Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. “I’m very excited,” she said during a recent visit to Washington, D.C., “face to face.”
Patel is an enthusiastic Biden supporter. “Honestly, I think he’s one of the most progressive presidents we’ve ever seen,” she said of the major projects the administration was able to accomplish, including the infrastructure bill, the Anti-Inflation Act, and the CHIP package. I mentioned some of the bills. and scientific law.
Her mother is from the Indian state of Gujarat and came to this country as an immigrant.
“She came to this country with almost nothing. I think this is a story that resonates with many people in the Indian diaspora in this country. They raised my younger brother and me as single parents. We moved around quite a bit.” Little by little, I went to different cities, working in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher, in the motel industry, I did a variety of odd jobs,” Patel said.
“She then ended up in Monroeville, a small suburb in western Pennsylvania, where she started a small catering business, supplying samosas and other various pastries to the local Patel Brothers there. From there “She started a food truck business. My family has been running a food truck for the past 25 years,” she said.
Two food trucks serve North Indian cuisine, one on the University of Pittsburgh campus and the other on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus.
“It’s called India on Wheels. In many ways, that’s my story. I worked in that family food truck business, grew up on Pitt’s campus, ran the food counter, and did catering on the weekends. , and then worked at several restaurants. That’s when I decided I wanted to attend the University of Pittsburgh,” she said.
Patel soon became the first in her family to graduate from college. “Then I got a scholarship to study for a master’s degree at Oxford University. Since then, I’ve been involved in a variety of public service projects. When I think about the Indian diaspora, I think about the power of that story. For me, it’s This is the epitome of the American dream. It’s the power of ideas that allows you to raise a daughter, educate a child, and then raise a daughter even though you’re from a small village where you grew up in poverty. is running for Congress. To me, that’s the strength of this country. That’s the positivity that this country can offer, that’s what I’m running for, that’s what this campaign is about. ” she said.
Ms Patel has run a very positive campaign in her district, but has recently been the target of hate crimes and racial abuse because of her ethnicity.
In response, Hindu and Jewish organizations across the country voiced their support for her. Hindu American PAC recently held a fundraiser on her behalf.
“I think one of the biggest concerns we have right now as it relates to our immigration system is actually investing more resources into our immigration system so that we can address the backlog. How can we invest more bureaucratic support? I think language accessibility is an issue. This is a big thing when you think about navigating patrons when a call comes in. I believe that navigating the immigration system can be a very tedious process, but I would like to provide more resources to these agencies so that they can better communicate with individuals seeking visas. “What should I do? Or people trying to get immigration done,” she said.
Ms. Patel is a strong supporter of India-US relations. “Our relationship with India is very important. I think we have a rapidly growing young population in India. There’s a lot of hunger and desire to build a life and contribute to India’s growth, but we also have a lot of world-class talent. So what do we do?’ How can the United States, and Western Pennsylvania in particular, best position itself to attract that talent?” she said.
“We’re home to Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and other university institutions. We have a lot of students coming from India, and they’re getting degrees. So we’re making it easier for people to get into Indian universities. , we can continue to build a stronger visa program.” Universities are helping to support the biggest challenges facing this country, including entering the workforce, building small businesses, and addressing the climate crisis, among others. We are working to innovate and solve some of the challenges,” she said.
“Being able to address the biggest crisis facing our generation will require innovation and serious thinking. And being able to build coalitions on a global scale makes it absolutely necessary that we can address these concerns.” I think it’s important,” Patel said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)