Who’s Who Among Indian-American Candidates in Lexington’s Local Elections

Vineeta Kumar
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LEXINGTON, MA– If all the Indian Americans candidates win in next week’s location elections in Lexington, MA, there will be a total 23 Indian American Town Meeting Members of Lexington, MA. The elections will be held on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

Currently, the total number of Town Meeting Members in Lexington is 189, of which Indian Americans are 19. The population of Lexington as of 2018 was 33,792.

The current Indian American Town Meeting Members are: Anil Ahuja, Sandhya Beebee, Narain Bhatia, Hemaben Bhatt, Shailesh Chandra, Pamela Joshi, Aneesha Karody, Vikas Kinger, Ravish Kumar, Vineeta Kumar, Sanjay Padaki, Dilip Patel, Dinesh Patel, Sudhir Ranjan, Syed Rizvi, Deepika Sawhney, Umesh Shelat, Amit Srivastava, and Vinita Verma. Some of these members are up for relection this year.
Mr. Bhatia, who has been a long-time resident of Lexington and has been a key organizer of Indian Americans in local politics, is not contesting for Town Meeting this year.  Jayanthi Rangan is contesting from Precinct 1 as a write-in candidate.
Here is the bio of Indian American running in Lexington this year:
Samita Mandelia

Samita Mandelia, candidate for TMM, Precinct 7

Samita Mandelia has been a Lexington resident for more than ten years. She lives with her husband, Ashish, their daughter, Ishika, a junior at Lexington High School, their son Aarav, a 6th grader at Diamond Middle School, and Bruno, their labradoodle dog. She has been a consistently active volunteer in the Lexington community, including serving as a room parent and assisting teachers for several years. She has also been a member of the PTO board, where she successfully raised funds for the Estabrook school community. She has been actively organizing local cultural events that have brought together the town residents, proceeds of which were donated to local organizations such as Lexington Education Foundation, Cary Memorial Library Foundation, and others.

She is motivated to run for Town Meeting Member of Precinct 7 and hopes to be elected to serve the town she loves. She is a realtor by profession with an accounting background and cares about overcoming the challenges associated with balancing residential taxes while simultaneously maintaining the local heritage, protecting the interests of our seniors and maintaining our excellent schools.  She is very grateful to the town of Lexington and its culturally diverse community. She and her family have benefited greatly from living in this town, and she hopes to have the opportunity to do her share and give back by serving as a Town Meeting Member.

Jyotsna Kakullavarapu

Dr. Jyotsna Kakullavarapu, candidate for TMM, Precinct 6

Jyotsna is a Precinct 6 resident of Lexington since 2014 and lives with her husband and 2 beautiful children, graduates of Lexington High School 2016 and 2020. She is currently serving a 3-year term on Lexington’s Council on Aging Board at Lexington Human Services, as well as on the advisory group for Mental Health Task Force and Liaison for Vision 20/20 Committee.  She learned how the town departments work through Citizens Academy 2018 and would like to get more involved by standing for election as Town meeting member from Precinct 6 on March 3rd, 2020.  She is serving as 2nd Vice President for iGIG – Indian Americans Getting Involved group for the last 2 years, whose charge is motivating Indian community to play an active role in town governance.  By career she is a Physician, Public Health, Preventive Medicine Specialist, and clinical researcher.  SheI took initiative to bring one of the fortune 500 companies, Interim HealthCare, a home health care agency, as a resource to Lexington seniors.  Being an owner of the Lexington based business, she understands the need for raising more commercial taxes to reduce residential tax burden. Her knowledge is in HealthCare, Public Health Issues, Senior Care, which she hopes will bring fresh perspectives to town meetings.

Umesh Shelat,

Umesh Shelat, incumbent for TMM, Precinct 7

Umesh Shelat, is a candidate for Lexington Town Meeting from Precinct 7. His wife is an engineering manager at a large software company, and Umesh manages a private investment fund (they also have a skincare products company, Lexington Soaps). They have lived in Lexington for twelve years with their two boys, ages 14 and 16. They have attended Estabrook Elementary, Diamond Middle, and are currently studying at Lexington High School. From 2010 – 2014, Umesh has been an active proponent for the design and construction of the new Estabrook elementary school. Currently, given the impending demolition of the Minuteman Tech pool, he is engaged in working with the Lexington School administration to design a short-term and long-term solution for swim facilities for the LHS Swim Teams. He says, “My family, and I have had a wonderful life, here in Lexington, and I would very much like the opportunity to give back and contribute in any way I can to the continued prosperity of this town”.

Rina Kodendera

Rina Kodendera, candidate for TMM, Precinct 6

Rina has lived in Lexington for seven years. Her son graduated from LHS, and her daughter is a senior at LHS. She is the VP of Membership on the LHS PTO board. For four years, she has run sessions for parents of high schoolers to help navigate high school and the college application processes. She has been part of the LHS Schedule Committee.

She has done her master’s in computer application. She has led the learning and development function at multiple global companies. She currently leads learning at a large tech company.   She can help foster a strong Lexington by: 1) Connecting Communities, 2) Increasing the value for our tax dollars, 3) Developing empathic & successful students.

Sudhir Ranjan

Sudhir Ranjan, incumbent for TMM, Precinct 8

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 (Junior at Carnegie Mellon University) and Janya (Lexington High School) in Lexington since 2011 and has served as a town meeting member. He is running for another three-year term from Precinct 8.

The importance of people making a difference in their community comes through a deep yearning and motivation. Sudhir believes that many town issues are intricately connected to one another, and that they can be solved through effective engagement in community affairs. His interest comes from his own positive experience, from his conviction, and from his love of learning. While maintaining the highest-quality school system and preserving our cherished historical culture, he will continue 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. Infrastructure development, commercial satellite centers, sustainable development and expansion in Lexington with regard to growing environmental concerns are his priorities. Sudhir is keenly interested in exploring the possibility of increasing dining options through subsidized incubator restaurants.

Vineeta Kumar

Vineeta Kumar, incumbent for TMM, Precinct 3

Vineeta Kumar has lived in Lexington for ten years, along with her husband who is a software professional and son, who is an LHS student. Vineeta is motivated by her desire to give back to the town which has become home, a town that is an example in many ways but faces unique challenges as well.

Vineeta is a Management Consultant and has been in the consulting industry for over 25 years, most recently working in the Financial Services area. It’s important for Vineeta to live a meaningful life full of compassion and courage, pursuing her many passions beyond professional success. She finds civic engagement and community building activities immensely fulfilling and volunteers through various organizations, events and projects, lending her voice, time and resources to important issues and initiatives. Vineeta currently serves as a Board member at Lexington Education Foundation, is a co-President of LHS PTO and a member of TMMA Executive Committee.

At a time when the town is going through a demanding phase of growth, along with financial constraints. Vineeta believes the best way to be part of the solution is to get involved and is hoping for the opportunity to serve as Lexington’s Town Meeting Member for a second term.

Dinesh G. Patel

Dr. Dinesh Patel, incumbent for TMM, Precinct 6

Dinesh G. Patel M.D., is Emeritus Chief of Arthroscopic surgery at  Massachusetts General Hospital and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Patel is known as one of the founding fathers of Arthroscopic surgery.  He has been in U.S. News and World reports as one of the best doctors. In February 2002.  Boston Magazine voted him by his peers as one of the top doctors in the field of Orthopedics and he has received many awards nationally and globally.  He was Chairman of the Board of Registration in Medicine in Massachusetts.  During this time he helped the immigrant Russian Jewish doctors get medical licenses and for which AJC gave him a special Appreciation award “Compassionate approach for immigrants”.  In November 2003,  he was honored by Governor Weld as one of the best new immigrants in Massachusetts.

He has been a resident of  Lexington for 44 years. His children went through the Lexington schools.

He has been elected by his constituents as town member for two three years terms

He has given talks at Lexington community center in the field of orthopedic surgery and has given talk at Cary library as well.

His interests are education, health care, concerns of senior citizens and children’s needs for education.

He was involved in the topic of Marijuana and was actively involved in proposing the idea of including crematory facility with the redevelopment of west view cemetery in Lexington. His hobby has been photography and he had an exhibit in Cary library exhibiting the Spirit of this town.

Shailesh Chandra

Shailesh Chandra, incumbent for TMM, Precinct 8

Shailesh (Sunny) Chandra is running for re-election as a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 8. He has lived in Lexington with his wife, Shubhra Chandra, for 25+ years. Their two children were born in Lexington and went through the Public Schools. Sunny has been a room parent, LEF volunteer, and town meeting member.  His career spans management consulting to business development and strategy in high-tech.  He cares about the balance between taxes and spending, school overcrowding, and overbuilding in town.


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