Indian American Dr. Hiral Tipirneni’s chances improve as Rep. Trent Franks announces resignation

Tipirneni has already raised more than $165,000 during the 3rd quarter of 2017

The US representative of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, Rep. Trent Franks, has announced that he will leave the office by January 31 following a decision by the House Ethics committee to investigate complaints that he asked two female staffers to bear his child.

The Republican’s decision to resign has shocked the Capitol Hill especially because of his strong social conservative credentials. But it has come as a blessing in disguise for Indian American Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, who is running for Congress from the 8th Congressional District as a Democratic candidate.

The resignation of Franks in January will result in a a special election – which is normally held held when a member of Congress dies or resigns before the biennial general election.

As of now, former Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat, state Sen. Debbie Lesko and state Sen. Kimberly Yee are all considering throwing their hats in the ring.

The Arizona 8th District, which has for the last two elections shown allegiance to the Republican Party, has also elected Democrats in the past. This gives Tipirneni a chance to create history in the election by becoming the first Indian American to be elected from Arizona.

This is not the first time that 8th district is going through a special election. In 2012, a special election was held following the resignation of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, to concentrate on recovering from her injuries from the 2011 Tucson shooting. The election was won by her fellow Democrat Ron Barber.

Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, who was born in India, came to the United States with her family at the age of three. Her father was a structural engineer based in Ohio, where she and her brother were raised in a blue-collar suburb of Cleveland. Her mother was a social worker and the director of a downtown Cleveland senior center and initiated its Meals on Wheels program.

Tipirneni has been a community worker who spends time solving problems and improving lives, says her website. She has served the Phoenix area for more than 20 years as an emergency room physician, cancer research advocate and, most recently, on the board of directors of the Maricopa Health Foundation, which supports the county’s public health care delivery system.

Tipirneni initiated and was the lead organizer for a TEDx event about effecting positive change in the Northwest Valley. Her campaign is focused on improving healthcare, education, retirement security and veterans, government accountability, and economy.

According to her website, “Dr. Tipirneni believes in solving problems and improving lives, which is all about people, not partisanship. That’s what I did in the emergency room, and I’m running for Congress to do the same.”

Tipirneni has already raised more than $165,000 during the 3rd quarter of 2017, which is more than what Franks raised.

On the other hand, Franks’ announcement about resignation came as a shocker because he has been a strong conservative ever since his first election to the Congress in 2012. He has also authored several bills on anti-abortion and is married and has twin children.

“I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable,” he said in a statement. “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”

With his announcement to leave Congress, Franks has become the third lawmaker, and the first Republican, to announce resignation this week amid scandals.

Full statement of Dr. Hiral Tipirneni after Franks announced his retirement

I decided to run against Trent Franks because I felt my own voice and commonsense voices like mine weren’t being represented in Washington. The news of Franks’ impending resignation doesn’t change the fact that the communities of the West Valley deserve to be represented by someone who will fight for better jobs amid wage stagnation, fight for affordable, quality healthcare, fight to protect social security and Medicare and ensure that a public school education can prepare our workforce for the new economy.

As an ER doctor, a woman and a mother, I am as positive now as ever that our communities in the West Valley deserve a team-oriented approach to solving problems that puts people before politics. For the last six months I have been out meeting people and hearing how Washington is letting them down. After today’s news, I’m more convinced than ever that my background diagnosing problems, setting a course of action, and fixing things is just what Washington needs.

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