LEXINGTON, MA—Local elections in the historic town of Lexington, MA, are highly contested this year, but Indian-Americans may make history again as a record number of them are running for town meeting memberships in their local precincts. One candidate, Neerja Bajaj, is running for the town-wide election for the School Committee.
“It is a highly contested race,” said Narain Bhatia, a long-time resident of Lexington who is also running for Town Meeting membership and has been one of the pioneers of energizing Indian-Americans to run for local elections in Lexington. The elections are scheduled for March 6, 2017.
Lexington is the only town in the United States where Indian-Americans occupy such a large number of seats in local elections. If all Indian-American candidates win this year, they will account for a total 16 members of Lexington Town Meeting out of a total of 189 members, Bhatia said.
Currently, there are 12 Indian-American members of the Town Meeting and some of them contesting this year, some are not and terms of some don’t expire until next year. In 2015 when Indian-Americans organized themselves for local civic participation, six Indian-Americans were elected to Town Meeting.
“We hope to win all 16 seats but the race is very tight this year,” said Bhatia. “I have not seen such competitive race in many years.”
Here is the list of Indian-American candidates running for Town Meeting:
Narain Bhatia: 8 candidates running for 7 openings
Aneesha Karody: 13 candidates running for 7
Sunny Chandra: 11 running for 8
Dinesh Patel: 8 running for 8
Vineeta Kumar: 8 for 7
Hema Bhatt : 11 for 8
Vikas Kinger: 12 for 8.
Neerja Bajaj is running for School Committee. There are seven candidates for one seat at the School Committee.
“School Committee race is very tight,” Bhatia said.
He said the total population of Lexington is about 32,000 and Indian-Americans account for five percent. The total number of voters in the town are 18,000.