He is one of some 20 Indian Americans who are running for Congress this year.
Indian American Aftab Pureval, a rising star in Ohio politics, has emerged as one of Democratic Party’s best hopes for flipping a congressional seat in the Buckeye State.
Pureval, the first Democrat to get elected as the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in more than 100 years, is running from Ohio’s first congressional district. If he wins the primary, Pureval will take on incumbent Steve Chabot, a Republican.
He is one of some 20 Indian Americans running for Congress this year. Puravel’s father was from India and his mother lived as a Tibetan refugee in India before they both moved to the United States.
He is also the first ever candidate of Tibetan origin to run for the US Congress.
“This wasn’t an easy decision and I never planned to do it, but these are extraordinary times,” Puravel said while announcing his candidacy on social media recently. “If we don’t like the direction of our country, then it’s on us to change it.”
So far two other Democrats have also announced their candidacy from the district: Robert Barr and Laura Ann Weaver.
Many believe that Pureval is the strongest of the three Democrats, and he has a real shot at taking down Chabot, who has been representing the Republican leaning district for more than 20 years.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is one of them.
“He is the right kind of moderate that I think fits the district and can help move the political center of gravity back to the middle from its right-wing trajectory in Washington,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Even Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, called Pureval ‘refreshing’ and “a perfect example of somebody who could have gone in a lot of different directions and decided to become a public servant.”
During his period as the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Pureval is credited with ending nepotism and making the office more professional.
Born and brought up in southwest Ohio, Pureval went to public schools. He received a bachelor’s in political science from the Ohio State University in 2005. There he served as a student body president. During his tenure, he pushed the Ohio state legislature for increased funding for higher education.
After college, Pureval went to University of Cincinnati College of Law. There he worked in the Domestic Violence Clinic representing women who were victims of violence. Later he moved to Washington, D.C., to join White & Case LLP, one of the largest law firms in the country.
Four years later, he returned to Hamilton County where he worked as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Dept. of Justice.
Puravel’s father worked his way up from bagging groceries to becoming a manager at Lockheed Martin. The candidate says it was his father who taught him the importance of hard work and devotion to family.