NEW YORK – Indian American Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni, 39, is looking to run for Congress this year in Texas’ 22nd Congressional district against Republican Congressman Pete Olson.
Kulkarni served as a Foreign Service Officer for 14 years during which he toured Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan, and Jamaica, and now he has come back to serve the country on the home front.
“I have spent my career trying to reduce conflict in other countries, but right now hostility and conflict are being inflamed in our own country, through the politics of anger and demagoguery, demonization of specific ethnic and religious groups, threats to rule of law, degradation of women, and an undermining of democratic institutions like a free press,” Kulkarni says on his website.
“The greatest danger to our country right now is not a foreign power, but the internal divisions in our society. We must recognize 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 adds.
According to his website, Kulkarni grew up in Houston, Texas and had to drop out of college at the age of 18 when his father Venkatesh Kulkarni, a published novelist, contracted leukemia.
After his father passed away, Kulkarni finished his college career and graduated from the University of Texas Plan II Honors program.
After serving as a Foreign Service Officer for 14 years, in 2015, Kulkarni accepted a Pearson Fellowship to serve as a foreign policy and defense adviser on Capitol Hill, where he assisted Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Kulkarni completed a mid-career Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School, just last year.
According to his website, Kulkarni and one of his Republican colleagues also founded a bipartisan initiative called “Breaking Bread,” which aims to “reduce the partisan hostility in our society”, that has been repeated in several states.
So far, 9 candidates have filed their nominations for the U.S. Representative District 22 seat that Olson has held since 2008.
While Olson will face Danny Nguyen-R, Eric Zmrhal-R and James Green-R in the March 2018 Republican primary, Kulkarni will be running against Letitia Plummer, Margarita Ruiz Johnson, Steve Brown and Mark Gibson in the Democratic primary, on March 6.