Another Indian-American, amongst several from different US states, has announced his plan to run for the 2018 US Congressional elections in Texas. Sri Preston Kulkarni, 39, is seeking the Democratic party nomination for the 22nd Congressional district against incumbent Republican Congressman Pete Olson. The 22nd district covers a diverse region of southeast Texas and includes the cities of Sugar Land, Missouri City, Deer Park, Pearland and Galveston. Sri was raised in Houston by his parents, Margaret and Venkatesh Kulkarni, a published novelist. Venkatesh Kulkarni came from India to the United States where he met Sri’s mother Margaret.
The family moved to Houston in 1980, where Margaret worked for oil company Exxon and Venkatesh taught at Rice University. Sri graduated from the University of Texas Plan II Honors program. After completion of his college, Sri was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer by Secretary of State Colin Powell and served his country for 14 years during which he toured Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan, and Jamaica. In 2015, Sri accepted a Pearson Fellowship to serve as a foreign policy and defence adviser on Capitol Hill, assisting Senator Kirsten Gillibrand with her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In 2017, Sri completed a mid-career Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School. Sri and a Republican colleague founded a bipartisan initiative called “Breaking Bread,” which aims to “reduce the partisan hostility in our society”, that has been repeated in several states. “The greatest danger to our country right now is not a foreign power, but the internal divisions in our society,” Sri said. “That is why I am coming home to Texas to serve. I know firsthand that to push back the tide of fear, we must recognise the sources which are fanning the flames of resentment and defuse them, by offering a positive vision for the future that all groups can believe in,” he said.
Sri exuded confidence that with people’s support he could be a strong voice in Congress for returning to real Texas values, such as truth, fairness, generosity towards others, and respect for the dignity of the individual. “With your help, we can make America decent again,” he said. Nine candidates have filed for the US Representative District 22 seat that Olson has held since 2008. Olson will face Danny Nguyen-R, Eric Zmrhal-R and James Green-R in the March 2018 Republican primary.
Other than Sri, Democrats who filed for the position include Letitia Plummer, Margarita Ruiz Johnson, Steve Brown and Mark Gibson. The 2018 primary election will be held on March 6, with the general election following on November 6.