Pritesh Gandhi:

Pritesh Gandhi, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, is vying for a seat in the House of Representatives in Texas’ 10th District. (gandhifortexas.com photo)

Pritesh Gandhi, an Indian American academic in Texas, is hoping to have his voice heard in his bid to unseat a Republican incumbent in the 2020 election.

Gandhi, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Population Health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, March 5 announced he is running as a progressive Democrat to win the U.S. representative seat in Texas’ 10th District.

“This morning, I announced my campaign for #TX10. I’m running for Congress to bring a voice to working families of Texas,” Gandhi tweeted March 5. “This campaign is about renewing our collective commitment to core American values of dignity, fairness, opportunity, and duty. Join us.”

A father, husband, primary care doctor and community advocate, Gandhi says on his campaign website, www.gandhifortexas.com, that he has spent his life advocating and fighting for working families and children.

A native of Houston, born to immigrant parents from India, Gandhi says he is a doctor to the underserved and uninsured.

“Growing up, my father, a pharmacist, started a small business in home healthcare. As a child, I watched as he provided discounted medication and nursing for families that couldn’t afford it,” Gandhi notes in his campaign site. “He inspired me, yet I was disheartened: these working families deserved better.”

Since then, he says, his life has been driven by these core values: dignity, fairness, opportunity and duty.

“These values drove me to seek a career in medicine. And it was the stories and experiences of my patients, their families, and their communities that made me an advocate,” he adds.

As a Fulbright scholar, Gandhi worked in one of the world’s largest landfills and saw families organize to obtain access to clean water.

As an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, he focused on nutrition among the working poor in Boston. Additionally, according to his bio, during his residency in New Orleans, his group organized around gun violence and social determinants of health. He and his wife then returned to Texas, where they have remained since, the site notes.

In Texas, Gandhi says he has the deep privilege to listen to the stories of hardworking families; the overwhelming narrative is one of strength and courage.

“These are the stories that have motivated me to be out front with so many on passing paid sick leave, fighting for separated families at the border, testifying at the Capitol to improve access to mental health screenings, and building systems to address region-wide social and political determinants of health,” he said.

Following the example of his father, Gandhi said that he promised himself that he would dedicate the rest of his life to being a voice for those that never get a seat at the table, according to the campaign site.

Among the issues he hopes to bring to the table, if elected, include healthcare reform and poverty reduction, with issues such as expanding Medicare and access to reproductive health, his site notes. 

Currently, in the early stages of his campaign, he and his team are focused on understanding the problems the district faces.

Gandhi will be running to unseat Republican Rep. Michael McCaul in 2020. 

Gandhi holds degrees in international relations and economics from Tufts University and he completed his medical degree and MPH at Tufts School of Medicine. He has also studied at the London School of Economics and Johns Hopkins University.

He speaks extensively on childhood poverty and health, testifies to both the Texas House and Texas Senate public health committees, and actively supports and advocates for initiatives that address root causes of poverty. 

He is a 2018 Presidential Leadership scholar — a joint initiative from the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson that brings together diverse, high-performing professionals from across the nonprofit, military, public and private sectors to learn leadership lessons first-hand from the four presidencies and Presidents Bush and Clinton.

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