Sri Preston Kulkarni makes it to runoff in Texas primary

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Sri Preston Kulkarni (Courtesy: kulkarniforcongress.com)

As several Indian Americans took part in the March 6 primary in Texas, only one made it to a runoff: Sri Preston Kulkarni.

In the state’s 22nd Congressional District, Kulkarni received 31.8 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, which was 7.5 percent better than the next candidate Letitia Plummer, who only got 24.3 percent.

The two will now have a runoff election on May 22.

“We are all grateful and could not have done this without y’all. Over 9,000 voters came out to support us and we are all truly humbled. When I began this journey, I aimed to bring reason, compassion and decency into our government. People said it was impossible. Many said it was risky. Others said it was pointless, but I knew I had to do something,” Kulkarni said in a Facebook post after the results came out.

“I resigned as a diplomat in the U.S. State Department, where I had served our country for 14 years. I met with and listen to thousands of people in District 22 on how to make that much needed change possible. We stand proud and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our unique neighborhoods. We have shown we can bridge our communities and have our voices represented,” he added.

According to his campaign website Kulkarni “is a proven leader who has been serving his family, community and country for his entire life” and while in Congress will focus on universal healthcare, veterans and national defense, climate change, gun violence, education, economic inequality, disaster relief, criminal justice reform and immigration reform.

According to an earlier News India Times report, 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, was diagnosed with leukemia.

It wasn’t until after his father passed away, that he attended college and graduated from the University of Texas Plan II Honors program.

According to his website, Kulkarni served as a Foreign Service Officer for 14 years touring Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan, and Jamaica and was accepted a Pearson Fellowship to serve as a foreign policy and defense adviser on Capitol Hill in 2015 where he assisted Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Last year, Kulkarni received his mid-career Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School.

According to his website, Kulkarni speaks Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew, and Russian and “he has spent his career using his skills and education to find common ground between groups in conflict, such as Arabs and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians, and standing up for the truth, including combatting the Russian government’s online misinformation campaign.”

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