Kulkarni wins Dem primary in bid to be first Indian American elected to Congress from Texas

Sri Preston Kulkarni

indica News Bureau-

Former diplomat Sri Preston Kulkarni won Tuesday’s Democratic primary in US House District 22 in Texas, defeating two opponents on his quest to become the first Indian American elected to Congress from the Lone Star state.

The 41-year-old Hindu, who was born in Louisiana and grew up in Texas, is running for an open seat that is now held by a retiring Republican. Kulkarni’s opponent will be selected in a primary runoff in May.

“I was the first Indian American nominated to run for Congress from Texas,” he said at a Jain temple to several hundred people after services last week, according to published reports. “Hopefully, I will be the first elected.”

Two of Kulkarni’s core issues are jobs and economic opportunity and healthcare, according to his campaign website.

The Congressional District has had a Republican representative in Washington for most of the past 40 years, but observers say the district has been experiencing a  demographic shift into one of the most ethnically and racially diverse counties in the country.

He speaks Hebrew, Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish and Russian, and his campaign distributed materials in 19 languages, including several South Asian and visited temples, mosques and other community centers, according to reports.

Kulkarni, who lost in his 2018 bid for the same Congressional seat, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, spent 14 years in the Foreign Service and worked for New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand before earning a master’s degree at the Harvard Kennedy School, according to reports.

His late father was an Indian immigrant and his mother a descendant of one of the founders of Texas, Sam Houston, who was descended from Scottish and Irish immigrants, according to published reports.