The California-born school teacher hoping to win Democrats and independents.
Indian American Chintan Desai, a school teacher in Helena, Arkansas, will file nomination as a Democrat from Arkansas’s 1st Congressional District on Thursday.
Desai said he wants to channelize the votes of Democrats, independent and unaffiliated voters oust the incumbent Republican Rep. Rick Crawford, who has represented the district since 2010.
According to a press release issued by his campaign, Desai will focus on expanding healthcare coverage, providing affordable post-secondary education options for students, and creating one-million housing vouchers to move low-income families to middle-class neighborhoods.
“Now more than ever Washington needs new faces and new energy to shake up Capitol Hill,” said Kevin Smith, a former Arkansas State Senator. “I have witnessed Chintan provide transformative leadership in our community and have no doubt he will do the same in Washington.”
Desai had signaled his intention to run last year.
During the time of government shut down, he had criticized Crawford for playing the blame game and for dodging questions. He also blasted Crawford when the House Intelligence Committee, in which he is part of, decided to release the Nunes memo in support of President Trump.
Desai was born as the only son of Indian immigrant parents and spent the majority of his life in California. He attended the University of California, Davis for his undergraduate degree, where he studied political science. He joined Teach For America’s 2010 corps and worked as a fifth-grade social studies teacher for two years at KIPP Delta Public Schools, located in the rural Arkansas Delta town of Helena.
In 2015, he helped open the Hunt Education Center, a multi-purpose community center, in the heart of Helena’s historic downtown. Desai serves on several local boards, including the Delta Cultural Center Advisory Board, the Boys, and Girls of Phillips County, and Teach For America Arkansas’ alumni of color organization.