The Indo American Democratic Organization (IADO) announced July 7, 2020, that it is endorsing Indian-American candidate for Lake County Board, Paras Parekh, who is the official Democratic nominee for the District 12 seat.
“Paras is a friend and advocate of the South Asian American community in Illinois,” Susan Patel, IADO Board President, is quoted saying in the press release. “Lake County is home to a fast growing South Asian American and Asian American community, and Paras can make history as the first Asian American elected to the Lake County Board.”
Parekh is on the ballot for this November 3, 2020 presidential election, along with the presidential and other local races.
“I’m proud to receive this endorsement by IADO,” said Parekh. “For years, IADO has done the vital work of supporting candidates like myself, and ensuring our elected leadership reflects the values of our communities,” he added. “I’m ready to forge a new path for Lake County where we focus on job creation, protecting our environment, equity, and ethics and accountability.”
Parekh says he has worked in healthcare in and around Lake County for 17 years, supporting patients with Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular conditions, and cancer, according to his campaign website parasforlakecounty.com.
The Indian-American candidate is on the board of the non-profit Friends for Health, which helps patients get access to healthcare. He is also a former city planning commissioner who focused on long-term planning, conservation, and preserving the character of neighborhoods.
Three years ago, Parekh was elected Trustee for West Deerfield Township where he focused on meeting local needs such as basic nutrition, employment, and mental health services.
A graduate in economics from the University of Michigan, Parekh has an MBA from the Kelley School of Business in Indiana University.
His priorities as outlined on the campaign site is to efficient fiscal managing of tax dollars; building a long term plan for Lake County’s infrastructure needs; working for more ethics and accountability as well as transparency in government; and protecting the environment, apart from jobs and business retention in the area and racial equity.
“In Lake County, one out of every four African Americans lives in poverty – significantly more than other communities,” Parekh points out. “African American residents make up less than 10% of the county population but represent a far larger percentage of those arrested and jailed,” he says, adding, “The Lake County board must act to address these long-standing inequities.”
As solutions to the inequities, Parekh recommends working to rebuild confidence in the criminal justice system, supporting economic growth and small businesses, and addressing all bias in hiring and career advancement, among other steps.
The Indo-American Democratic Organization is one of the oldest South Asian American political organizations in the United States. Led by a board of directors, IADO’s aims at expanding the engagement of South Asian Americans in the political process.
It also recruits and endorses candidates for public office, and advocates for progressive policies which it says are aligned with the community’s values.