Indian American Bhavini Patel, 30, is now running for US House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district. It is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh and much of Allegheny County, as well as some of Westmoreland County.
From helping her single parent mother running a food truck ‘India on Wheels’ in Pittsburgh to launching a tech startup after completing her education from the Oxford University, Ms Patel, last year announced her decision to run for the Congress from the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, which is currently held by her Democratic party colleague Summer Lee.
Preparing for her first hurdle of the primary, scheduled for April 23, Ms Patel has raised over $ 310,000, of which she says roughly 70% has been raised from within the State.
“It’s truly emblematic of the community and the needs of the community. We’ve earned several labour union endorsements including support from the steamfitters, the operating engineers, and SMART, which is a railroad transportation union. When we think about support from the unions, that’s a really big deal, especially coming from Western Pennsylvania where there’s such a a strong history of the power of the labour movement,” Ms Patel said.
In addition to that, she has also got endorsements from roughly 33 elected officials, including mayors of small towns as well as members of council in those areas.
“It has been a lot of doors knocking. It’s been a lot of one-on-one conversations, but we’re very excited about powering a campaign that’s truly rooted in the message of Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district and the challenges that the community is facing,” she said during her recent visit to Washington DC.
Originally from Gujarat in India, her mother came to this country as an immigrant. Ms Patel described her mother’s journey, “She came to this country with very little, which I think is a story that resonates with many people in the Indian diaspora here in this country. When she came here, she raised my brother and I as a single parent. We moved around quite a bit, to various different cities, and she worked various odd jobs, washing dishes in the restaurant industry, working in the motel industry,” Ms Patel said.
“Then she eventually came to Monroeville, which is a small suburb in western Pennsylvania, and that’s where she started a small catering business, supplying samosas and various other pastries to the local Patel brothers there. From there she started a food truck business. So, my family has been running food trucks for the last 25 years,” she said.