BY POOJA SALHOTRA
When I entered Chapman & Kirby on Wednesday night, it felt like highschool once more. I didn't acknowledge many individuals, and once I launched myself to somebody within the room, I bought the identical response: large eyes, a broad grin and instant reverence. Just like once I was freshman in highschool, strangers gave me too excessive a stage of admiration, just because I used to be Raj & # 39; s youthful sister. Only this time did the respect of folks not come from my brother's reputation, good grades or aspect actions as a DJ, however from his ardour to create a greater Houston for everybody.
Raj, who graduated from Harvard Law School final 12 months, suspended a job on the firm at Baker Botts and as a substitute dedicated himself to public service in Houston. On Wednesday night, in a room full of greater than 200 supporters, Raj formally introduced his candidacy for Houston City Council At-Large Position 1.
"I'm walking to the Houston City Council to build one," Raj stated. "To build Houston where we can all achieve our dreams. I fundamentally believe that starts with economic opportunities, improving our quality of life and building a resilient city."
Raj challenges incumbent Mike Knox, competing for one of the 5 main seats within the Council. Unlike the district seats that symbolize a selected geographic space, massive positions symbolize the whole metropolis of greater than 640 sq. miles and greater than 2 million folks.
At the age of 28, Raj might be the youngest candidate within the November vote. The son of Atul and Poonam Salhotra, Raj grew up in Bellaire, Texas and studied at St. John's School.
He grew up in Hindu and at the moment serves because the president of the Young Hindus of Greater Houston (YHGH). After graduating cum laude in 2012, he went to Rice University the place he studied economics and public coverage and taught high and low faculty highschool college students. While in faculty, Raj spent a semester at Obama's White House, an expertise that he says has formed his political aspirations.
After graduating from Rice in 2013, he joined Teach for America as a highschool calculus and statistics trainer at YES Prep Southwest, a constitution faculty that primarily gives low-income and minority college students.
As a trainer, Raj noticed college students struggling to attain tutorial success as a result of of issues outdoors the classroom – paralyzing poverty, even homelessness in some circumstances. This expertise impressed Raj to create SWAG to the College, a mentorship group that helps 600 deprived college students to review on the college. Raj & # 39; s expertise as a trainer, coupled along with his upbringing of Indian immigrants, collectively motivated his choice to go to the workplace.
"The city of Houston, and this country more generally, helped my family live the American dream," he stated. "As a teacher and non-profit leader I have worked with hundreds of students who have exactly the same ambitions as me, whose parents work just as hard as my parents, […] but unfortunately, due to policy issues and structural inequalities, they are trapped in poverty. "
Raj's marketing campaign promise is to function an advocate for all Houstonians. He referred to 1 of his former college students who wished to attend Lone Star Community College however didn’t have a automotive. That scholar takes the bus on daily basis and spends three hours on a journey that may take 30 minutes by automotive. Raj intends to attempt for a stronger public transport system and to work with METRO to extend bus companies to deprived areas.
He additionally referred to a Rice scholar who was injured in a bicycle accident. It is unacceptable that 2,000 Houstonians have been injured or killed in a bicycle accident within the final 4 years, he stated, arguing for Vision Zero, the elimination of all highway deaths and accidents.
Over the following few months, Raj plans to take heed to issues from Houstonians; he even gave away his private cellphone quantity – "the same number that my mother uses to call me."
"You are all the employer and the boss, and I am the official and the employee," he stated. "Ultimately, the job of a civil servant is a lawyer. It is an advocate for people who have traditionally been left out. It is an advocate for people who do not necessarily have the time or resources to speak out about their causes, but their causes. are important. "
On Wednesday, Raj used his platform to argue for Liyna, a 29-year-old South Asian journalist desperately in want of a bone marrow transplant. Volunteers from Be the Match Registry arrange a desk in order that contributors within the kick-off of Raj & # 39; s marketing campaign may signal as much as decide if they’re a blood match with Liyna.
For extra details about Raj & # 39; s marketing campaign, go to his web site right here: https://www.rajforhouston.com/