Omar Vaid

Omar Vaid, who works on props and set decoration for New York productions, is running for Congress in New York's 11th Congressional District. The Indian American candidate believes that immigrants and unions make America stronger. (Omar Vaid for Congress photo)

An Indian American of Gujarati descent, Omar Vaid is looking to continue to fulfill his American Dream as he vies for a seat in New York's 11th Congressional District.

Growing up Muslim in Illinois and Florida, he embraced his family's rich cultural heritage, as well as that of his schoolmates and friends. His background is among the reasons Vaid feels compelled to run in 2018, according to his campaign site.

As a member of the Democratic Party he believes diversity is an asset and that all voices must be included, his site said.

Following his undergraduate studies at the University of Central Florida, where he earned a bachelor's in business management, Vaid moved to Brooklyn in 2006 and started a career in the movie industry.

Vaid works on both props and set decoration for New York productions, including the TV shows "Luke Cage" and "The Get Down."

He has spent the last decade directly working with teamsters, welders, electricians, carpenters, mechanics and manufacturers to make sets and scenes possible. He buys largely from a network of local business owners and small suppliers.

Vaid believes that "Made in America" and strong allied trades are key to our future prosperity and the perseverance of the American dream, according to his campaign site.

Vaid in 2009 joined the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 52.

Vaid believes that immigrants and unions make America stronger. Becoming part of the IATSE Local 52 mirrored what his father did decades earlier, he noted. After coming to the U.S. in the early 1970s on a student visa, the elder Vaid gained citizenship and became one of the first Indian American union workers at Light Metals Factory in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Previously a resident in Bay Ridge, Vaid said he left there because of prolonged problems with the R train, which in turn became a reason for improving transportation as one of his top concerns, his campaign site said. Vaid says he will move within the district to Staten Island upon winning the primary election.

Among the other issues he is focusing on include taking care of students and teachers first, fixing the climate, providing Medicare for all, improving women's rights, bettering workers’ rights and fortifying unions, rejecting the GOP tax plan, creating sensible gun laws, and unifying the country, among other issues.

"People rightfully feel the economy is rigged, jobs don't pay what they used to and unionizing efforts are in decline. It's time for the billionaires to pay their fair share," Vaid said on his site. "We have the power to change all of this. Will you join me in taking on the most powerful people in the world in an effort to reduce their influence on Washington?"

Vaid will be seeking the Democratic nomination in the primary election June 26. He will be in a packed field going up against fellow Democrats Michael DeCillis, Michael DeVito Jr., Zach Emig, Max Rose and Paul Sperling. The Republican incumbent, Daniel Donovan, has a clearer path to the general election, only needing to get past former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm in the primary.

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