By Vineeta Kumar
LEXINGTON, MA–Indian Americans of Lexington are shattering their earlier records with eleven Indian Americans running in the town election to be held on March 5, 2018. The town of Lexington in Massachusetts has become a poster child of civic participation and grass root political involvement in the United States.
Over the last few years Indian Americans have increased their participation in town governance, with 7-8 candidates filing nominations each year. However this year’s total of eleven candidates is the highest number of Indian Americans running in a single year. These candidates are contesting for a total of twelve positions- one School Committee position and eleven Town Meeting positions at Precinct level.
“Indian Community in Lexington is thankful to these fine candidates who have taken bold steps to contest in the coming town elections, many for the first time. Most are young, very busy with full time jobs and some with school going kids. We salute their commitment to our participative democracy and to give back to the community they live in. Please review their bios and encourage them,” said Narain Bhatia, Lexington Town Meeting Member for almost two decades.
Lexington is the only town in the country where Indian-Americans participate actively in local politics and have the largest number of Indian-Americans elected to the local town government.
Here are the bios of this year’s candidates in their own words:
Amit Srivastava- TMM, Precinct 3
Amit Srivastava has lived in Lexington for six years, along with his wife Shilpi and son Ayush who a junior at Lexington High School. Amit has been working with software technology for 27 years of which he has spent the last 18 years in the Financial Technology space. He loves to play table tennis and coaches the sport at Academy of Creative arts. He loves the town of Lexington for its rich history and culture and would like your support for this opportunity to give back to the community.
Aneesha Kaordy- TMM, Precinct 5
Aneesha Karody, is an Entrepreneur. Her venture stems from her passion for various Art forms. She has worked as a Director/ Product Manager for a reputed Finance Company in the IT Industry for over two decades before she decided to follow her passion and make it the way of her life. She has been a resident of Lexington for over 14 years with her husband and two kids who attend Lexington Public schools. She has volunteered in school activities including Big-back yard, Library coordination, class activities, science fair, an active member of the IAL org participating in numerous town activities.
She believes being a part of the community is key to help improve our schools, create better opportunity for our kids, as they will provide a strong future to the community and help improve our standards of living. She is a self-motivated individual and is excited to give back to the community by representing the town in matters that impact us individually and as a community to ensure continued success to our town.
Anil Ahuja- TMM, Precinct 5
Anil Ahuja is running for reelection as Town Meeting Member from Precinct 5. He has been on the Town Executive Committee for the past two years. He is on the Organizing Committee of the Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL) and also “Festival of Colors”. Anil and his wife Lata, along with their 2 kids, Rahul (sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University) and Anika (8th grader at Clarke), have lived in Lexington since 2006. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, an MBA in Information Systems, and an MS in Computer Information Systems. He is an avid Chess player. Anil works for a money management firm and is interested in ensuring that taxpayer money is utilized effectively while keeping taxpayer burden at a minimum.
Deepika Sawhney- TMM, Precinct 6 and School Committee
Deepika Sawhney has lived in Lexington for over 20 years and has a child in Diamond and one in LHS. She has held many volunteer positions in the Lexington Public School system including PTO president, chair of STEM school clubs, site council member and webmaster. She is passionate about education and believes children can grow into confident and empathetic global citizens, who adapt to change with equanimity and skill.
Deepika Sawhney holds a degree from the National Institute of Design, India, as well as an MBA & MIS from the Questrom School of Business, BU. She has worked in technology companies and served in philanthropic organizations. She is running for the School Committee as well as Town Meeting member (precinct 6) positions. She believes she can help build stronger students, stronger schools and a stronger town. Especially by:
- Educating the whole child
- Building student resilience
- Delivering value to taxpayers.
Hema Bhatt- TMM, Precinct 9
Hema Bhatt is incumbent Town Meeting Member and running for re-election. She is a resident of Lexington for 19 years. She has been involved with volunteering in Lexington schools, Hayden Recreation and many cultural and sports events in and around the town. She serves on committee of non-profit organization to help organize charity events. She believes in selfless action, work towards solving the problems and serving the community that has given us all so much. She is actively involved in professional organizations and serves on the committee to co-ordinate many professional development events and seminars. She holds degree in Civil Engineering and has extensive experience in private and public sector. Through her personal perspective as a working parent and technical professional, she wants to offer services to benefit the Town Government. She has been appointed to serve on Comprehensive Plan Advisory committee.
Jyotsna Kakullavarapu – TMM, Precinct 5
Jyotsna Kakullavarapu is a Physician, Clinical Researcher, Owner/ CEO at Interim HealthCare of Lexington MA a Home Health Care Agency. My passion in HealthCare and Senior Care is my drive. I strongly believe that, great families make great communities, Support makes all the difference in the world.
It is on each one of us to teach right, transparency, communicative skills to next generations to come. I live in Lexington with my husband and 2 kids. I am a Proud Mom of LHS Graduate 2016 currently in college and a sophomore at LHS. I am doing my share to reduce costs to Government, under Affordable Care Act. Volunteer for Senior Services programs for a healthy, active retirement, Support services for families, seniors, youth and Veterans.
Ravish Kumar- TMM, Precinct 7
Ravish Kumar is a Town Meeting Member for Precinct 7 since 2015. Ravish is an experienced Finance Leader and works in the Oil and Gas domain. He completed his MBA from Pittsburgh.
Ravish moved to Lexington in 2011 and lives with his wife Seema and daughters Shireen and Kashish. Ravish believes that Lexington has the strongest foundation for school education and is one of the most desirable communities for families in Massachusetts. According to him, with more efficient government the town can create stronger foundations for kids and preserve the town’s historical elements. By doing so, the children will prosper, property values will increase and standards of living will continue to improve.
Sanjay Padaki- TMM, Precinct 8
Sanjay Padaki, an incumbent Town Meeting Member from Precinct 8, has lived in Lexington with his wife and two children since 2005. He actively volunteers in many town activities and has most recently been appointed to the Appropriation Committee, a nine member panel that oversees the town’s finances.
He also volunteers at many Indian American related events and has been a key member of the Getting Involved Group (GIG) that seeks to increase the community’s engagement in civic and governance aspects of the town. Sanjay has a doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering and works in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Sudhir Ranjan- TMM, Precinct 1
Sudhir Ranjan, PhD in Chemistry, is a Scientist by profession. He lives with his wife, Jaya Vatsyayan, a biotechnology professional with PhD in Life Science and two children, Sujay (freshman at Carnegie Mellon University) and Janya (Clarke Middle School) in Precinct 1, Lexington since 2011.
Motivation is one of the critical determinants of effective engagement in community affairs. His interest comes from his own positive experience and from his love of learning. He believes that many Town issues are intricately connected to one another. While maintaining the highest-quality school system and preserving our cherished historical culture, he is planning to participate and assist in a non-partisan manner in any effort to enhance overall community development and save money before any tax increase is requested. With more involved citizens, and out-of-the-box thinking, he believes that we can keep Lexington vibrant, more affordable and all-inclusive for our children AND our senior citizens.
Syed Ali Rizvi- TMM, Precinct 2
In serving the town, not only will I be fulfilling my civic responsibilities, but also working with other committed people to strengthen our community.
We moved from Cambridge in 2005 with two daughters, Alia, and Asrah, who are now 17 and 15 respectively, have enjoyed this wonderful town and its facilities and have seen both of our children benefit from the tremendous school system and make great friends. Deeba, my wife is an ophthalmologist and I the founder-President of a fine chemicals company. I humbly serve as volunteer President of a Lexington-based non-profit, Vision-Aid (www.visionaid.org), serving the cause of the visually impaired.
With around 32,000 residents and a 20% Asian population, the Lexington public school system is one of one of the best in the state and ranked very high nationally. This is a place that we now call home. The reason the town is so good is because several hundred Lexingtonians volunteer themselves in some capacity in its governance.
I am therefore offering myself to serve as a Town meeting member for a second term from Precinct 2. This is a great way to get involved and give back to the community from which we have benefited so much.
Vinita Verma- TMM, Precinct 6
Vinita Verma is running for Town Meeting Member from Precinct 6. She and her husband Amit, along with their two children, Shefali and Aman have been living in Lexington for almost 10 years. Vinita has been quite involved in the Lexington community having volunteered in Big-backyard outings, science and art related school activities.
She has been the lead coach for Science Olympiad teams at Diamond and her teams have consistently placed first in various competitions. She has an MS in Bioinformatics from Boston University and is a research scientist. She is motivated to give back to the community by representing the town in matters that impact us individually by fighting for issues that provide for continued improvement in quality of living for Lexington residents, and as a community by staying focused on enriching children’s lives through cutting edge academic and extra-curricular activities.