Indian-American physician running for Congress has no time for fundraising in midst of crisis

Dr. Pritesh Gandhi at his medical center in Texas District 10 from where he is running for US Congress (This photo was posted by his wife Monisha Gandhi on March 24, 2020, on his Twitter account)

Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, candidate for the United States Congress from District 10 in Texas, has not had time for fundraising and is focusing his efforts on helping public health services deal with the Corona virus pandemic.

Nevertheless, his reputation continues to garner him endorsements even in the midst of this crisis.

The latest organization to endorse the Gandhi for Texas campaign is the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which the press release, described as “a nonprofit, non-partisan group backed by more than 13 million activists, donors, and supporters working to advance access to health care and defend reproductive rights.” Gandhi promised to continue his support for reproductive choice and said,”In Congress, I’ll continue to fight back against any effort to limit reproductive rights and fight for quality, affordable health care for all Texans.”

Dr. Gandhi is an Austin-based physician and an associate chief medical officer at a community health center where he is helping lead the clinic’s COVID-19 response, he told News India Times.

It being an outpatient clinic, with few resources, “our goal is to keep well patients from going to the hospitals,” Dr. Gandhi noted. “Fundraising is the last thing on my mind,” he said, adding, “My priority is to make sure city and government is doing everythign to focus on this crisis and to prop up our public health services.”

Dr. Pritesh Gandhi running for U.S. Congress from TX Distt.10 (Photo: Twitter)

According to Federal Election Commission records, Gandhi raised $869,277.65 by Feb. 12, 2020, and had cash-on-hand equal to $93,866.34, a far cry from that of McCaul who raised close to $1.7 million by Feb. 12, and had cash-on-hand of  $892,879.02.

Gandhi said he could not reveal details about his health clinic due to privacy concerns, “But what we are seeing in this country and the world is unprecedented.”

“We have, for decades, under-invested in public health and public health infrastructure,” Dr. Gandhi said, including “building resilient families.”

“Our experience is the same” as around the country. “We have access to limited PPE (Personal Protective Equipment); hospitals are worried about managing the surge that is inevitable in the next few weeks; and we are still not able to curb the rise in new cases.”

“I can’t underscore how important it is to observe social distancing of 6 feet, and washing hands multiple times,” said Dr. Gandhi. As a parent of young children, he said, he is concerned about ensuring that playground equipment not be used.

“The best thing is hunker down for a couple of weeks,” Dr. Gandhi stressed. “People are not seeing that those who are infected are actually having respiratory and breathing problems. It is particularly aggressive with regard to respiratory issues.”

Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, a native Texan,  received his medical degree as well as a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from Tufts Medical School and is dual trained in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine.  He is also the founder of Doctors Against Gun Violence.

The Indian-American physician is on the ballot  against fellow Democrat Mike Siegel, in the Democratic primary runoff scheduled for July 14, 2020. Siegel and Gandhi were the two top vote-getters in the March 3 primary, with Gandhi receiving 33.1 percent to Siegel’s 44 percent, according to Ballotpedia.

The current Republican incumbent on Capitol Hill from District 10, Rep. Michael McCaul, defeated Siegel in 2018 by 4 percentage points, giving Democrats hope that the red district could turn blue.

On the healthcare front, Gandhi has stopped short of supporting Medicare For All touted by Sen. Bernie Sanders in his presidential campaign. Instead he supports – “Medicare for all who want it.”

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, Dr. Gandhi has called for a paid sick leave “to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe and healthy.”

On March 24, 2020, his wife Monisha Gandhi put up his photo in PPE, and urged the public to “Help him bring science to DC.”



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