Reuben D'Silva didn't have to sweat out a primary election in Nevada June 14.
Instead, the third-party 1st Congressional District hopeful sat and watched as candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties followed the votes being tabulated to see who would earn the other spots aside from the Indian American candidate.
D'Silva and independent Kamau Bakari both had already earned their spots in the November election. Following the votes, Democrat Dina Titus, the incumbent, with 82 percent of the vote, earned her spot in the race, while Mary Perry eked out in the Republican bid over Stephanie Carlisle.
A Mumbai native, D'Silva, 31, came to the U.S. as a toddler with his family.
He was class president in his senior year of high school and went on to attend UNLV before serving for the U.S. Marine Corps.
While serving, he was wounded by enemy fire in Fallujah. He earned the Purple Heart and Naval Achievement Medal for his work in the corps.
He went on to earn his bachelor's in history from UNLV, a master's in global studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and a master's in comparative religion and politics from Yale University.
Now, D'Silva teaches in Nevada's Clark County School District, turning down several out-of-state job opportunities to teach high school students. Though he isn't experienced in politics, he believes he is the right fit for the district.
"I feel that my background in the private world has more prepared me for a federal public office and it is there that I can make a more valuable contribution as a public servant," he told India-West. "I have strong background experiences in both the domestic arena as well as the foreign affairs arena."
D'Silva added that he's been an active citizen throughout his life, serving as a youth ambassador to city council and county commissioner meetings, volunteering and remaining involved during college and while serving the country.
As he focuses toward winning a seat in Congress, he feels issues that need to be dealt with include education benefits, veterans' needs and foreign policy.
"I feel that it was an inescapable truth that all too often the people are represented by elected officials who are not really representative of them," D'Silva said, adding that it's especially true in the 1st District. "I have become much disheartened about the increased hyper-partisanship of our political environment."
The Indian American added that, with the presidential election turning out to be "one of the nastiest in modern history," he decided to run as an independent.
"Choosing a side (makes) you become part of a team, and you become more obliged to serve the team/party than the constituents of the district," he explained to India-West, adding he would have filed as a Democrat.
D'Silva feels that, since being in the district for 25 years, he is the best representation of the people among the candidates.
"I am demographically much more representative of this district than the other candidates and I am much more in line with the socio-economic patterns of this district," he noted. "Simply put, I know in a very intimate way the needs of our constituents and will be beyond a doubt the best able to voice their concerns in Washington."
Other priorities D'Silva hopes to accomplish if elected include creating jobs and working to promote a "dynamic" national economy, strengthening the country's ability to influence global affairs, and providing greater access to healthcare and housing, as well as entrepreneurial and educational opportunities.
"I also want to address immigration," he added, "and work to bring more attention to issues that have created exorbitant divides in American power structures."
Clearly driven to resolve the multitude of issues in the district, D'Silva hopes to get in and get out, and back to the classroom.
"I do not see myself having a career in politics and do not want to be a professional politician," D'Silva said. "If elected I plan on serving a few terms and then going back to high school classroom teaching, which I love."
Elsewhere in the Nevada primaries, Republican Sam Kumar won a spot on the November ballot for the Reno City Council at-large position. Kumar, who finished second in the voting with 3,669 votes and 15.7 percent, will take on incumbent David Bobzien, who outpaced his three competitors to the tune of 63.3 percent of the vote, or 14,775 votes.
Bobby Mahendra was hoping to change things in the U.S. Senate race. The Democratic candidate finished fifth with 3.7 percent and 3,760 votes. Catherine Cortez Matso (80.6 percent) won the Democrat spot, while Joe Heck won the Republican position in the general election.