Sanjay Patel

Sanjay Patel running for Congress in Florida's 8th Congressional District. If elected, the Indian American activist said he will work to guarantee healthcare as a right for all Americans. (votesanjaypatel.com photo)

Sanjay Patel, an Indian American activist and organizational transformation consultant from Florida, is running for Congress in the state's 8th Congressional District.

The candidate has about two decades of experience in the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors.

A graduate of UCLA with a degree in economics, Patel began his career in technology, with strategy and consulting roles at Deloitte, Genentech and the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency.

He then launched a small consulting business in San Francisco; and subsequently co-founded a nonprofit, Epic Change, that used social media to raise funds for changemakers across the globe, according to his campaign site.

Most recently, to expand the impact of his social change efforts, Patel has focused on political activism, his bio said.

He travelled to multiple states as an organizer during the 2016 presidential primaries, served as one of Brevard’s elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention, spent several weeks at Standing Rock, and has since been elected State Committeeman of the Brevard Democratic Party, according to his campaign site, www.votesanjaypatel.com.

While on the BDP, he was appointed to a statewide Resolutions Committee, where he led the Florida Democratic Party to adopt resolutions supporting economic justice and fair wages, healthcare as a human right, guaranteed public education for all Floridians from pre-K through college or trade school, and opposing big money in politics.

During his time as an officer of the BrevardDems, the organization won a “golden gavel” award for knocking on the most doors in of any county in the state, membership has grown by over 300 percent, fundraising has nearly doubled, and three Democrats have been elected to local office in areas formerly considered to be Republican strongholds, his site said.

The Indian American was only one year old when his family arrived in America. His father worked at a 7-11 and his vegetarian mother worked at a McDonald's. Together, the parents raised four children, including Sanjay.

"My parents’ hard work for other companies earned little wealth for our family, and even less for our community," he said on his campaign site. "The profits they made for 7-11 and McDonalds were sent to shareholders in far-off places, leaving our neighborhood a poor and dangerous place for kids like me."

If elected, Patel promises to work to build prosperity for communities on the Space and Treasure Coasts by supporting policies that ensure large companies pay employees fairly, and that help small businesses launch, compete fairly and thrive.

He says he believes in economic justice for all of us and adamantly refuses to stand by as big corporations pocket billions while hardworking families struggle to survive.

Additionally, Patel says he will work to guarantee healthcare as a right for all Americans. He made the promise after citing a story of how his brother died of lung cancer and accrued many costs that were covered by his insurance.

"I cannot imagine the stress of losing a household’s primary income while losing someone you love," he said. "And yet, so many Americans have to endure the even greater stress of being unable to afford health insurance or medical treatment for themselves and their families."

Other promises Patel hopes to fulfill if elected include working on reforming America’s immigration policy to ensure that "we protect Americans, but even more importantly, that we protect what it means to be an American."

He also said he will work to build prosperity for Florida’s families, guarantee healthcare for all Americans, protect the state's land, air and water, and reform immigration policy to reflect America’s deepest values.

"I cannot do it alone, but together, we can create economic, social and environmental justice for all of us," he said.

Patel, a resident of Satellite Beach, announced his candidacy at the beginning of the month. Dena Grayson is the lone candidate seeking the Democratic nomination. The primary is set for Aug. 28. The winner of the primary will challenge GOP incumbent Rep. Bill Posey in the November general election.

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