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Indian American Democrat Sanjay Patel running for Congress from Florida’s 8th district

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Sanjay Patel

The 8th district is currently represented by Republican Bill Posey.

Indian American social activist Sanjay Patel has announced his candidacy for the US Congress from Florida’s 8th district.

He is one of the nearly two-dozen Indian Americans who are on congressional ballots this year, including four incumbents.

Patel, an organizational transformation consultant who has over two decades experience working with the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors, initially filed with the Federal Election Commission to run in the Democratic Party primary on January 18.

The 8th district is currently represented by Republican Bill Posey, who has been serving in Congress since 2009 and representing the district since 2013. President won carried the district by 20 percentage points in the 2016 election.

Patel faces at least one formidable primary opponent in Dena Grayson.

“As Congressman, I will 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,” Patel says on his official website. “I believe in economic justice for all of us & I adamantly refuse to stand by as big corporations pocket billions while hardworking families struggle to survive.”

Immigration is another issue Patel, who moved to the US at the age of one along with his parents and became a US citizen in 1980s, is focusing on. Names of his family members are recorded on The American Immigrant Wall of Honor at Ellis Island.

“As Congressman, I will work to reform 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 says. “We are the destination of dreamers, the land of opportunity, the world’s melting pot. Any immigration policy that violates our fundamental values as Americans does not protect America; it destroys the very fabric of our nation.”

Patel also promises to work for making healthcare a right for all Americans. Pointing out the difficult times when his brother was diagnosed with cancer he says, “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.”

Patel, who graduated in economics from UCLA, has worked in technology, strategy and consulting roles at Deloitte, Genentech and the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency.

He turned an entrepreneur launching a small consulting business in San Francisco after which he launched a nonprofit through which raised funds for changemakers.

During the 2016 presidential primaries, he traveled across different states as an organizer and served as one of Brevard’s elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention. He spent several weeks at Standing Rock, and has since been elected State Committeeman of the Brevard Democratic Party.