Saatvik Ahluwalia loses bid for Board of Selectmen in Lexington, Massachusetts

Dr. Dinesh Patel wins spot on Lexington Town Meeting Council.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Saatvik Ahluwalia, one of four Indian Americans vying for elected office in Lexington, Massachusetts, lost his race for a seat on the city’s Board of Selectmen.

Ahluwalia was contending for one of two open seats on the Board, and at just 24 years old, is the youngest person to ever run for that particular position. He garnered 1,485 votes, falling short of the 2,512 votes won by incumbent Norman Cohen and the 3,012 votes obtained by newcomer Michelle Ciccolo.

The only desi who won election is Dr. Dinesh Patel, who won a position on the Lexington Town Meeting Council, a representative body that plays a role in enacting local laws. Deepika Sawhney and Anoop Garg also ran for Town Meeting, but lost their bids.

Ahluwalia, however, is interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is that he is so young, and is an Asian American running for office in a city with a 20% composition of Asian-origin citizens.

At such a young age, Ahluwalia already has an impressive resume. He holds a B.A. from Boston University, and has worked on two relatively high-profile elections over the past few years: Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung’s re-election campaign, for which he was the campaign manager, and Ed Markey’s U.S. Senate campaign, for which Ahluwalia was a field agent.

Additionally, he is a partnership coordinator at YouthTrade, a firm that essentially helps young entrepreneurs expand their businesses by establishing relationships between their start-ups and high-end commercial retailers, such as department stores and groceries like Whole Foods Market. He has also been active in the local Indian American community, particularly as a board member for the Indian Association of Greater Boston.

Last month, on February 10, Ahluwalia officially kicked off his campaign for the Board of Selectmen, spending much of his time going door-to-door and speaking with constituents first-hand in the bitter New England cold. His campaign also hosted fundraising events and did cold-calling to help generate support, and gained endorsements from the likes of the Harvard Business Review and the Lexington Housing Partnership.

Despite his loss for the position, however, Ahluwalia sees the mere fact that he ran as a positive step. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Ahluwalia said that he saw the amount of support he received a sign of the times changing, and the growing involvement of Indian and Asian Americans in local politics.

To contact the author, email to deepakchitnis@americanbazaaronline.com

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