Candidate’s Preferred Pronouns
What office are you running for?
U.S. House of Representatives, NJ-5
With which party are you running for office?
Primary election June 2, general election November 3.
Why are you running for office?
I came to the United States from India with my family when I was 11-years-old. Against the backdrop of traditional assumptions of who and what I could be, I forged my own way as a neuroscientist, a mother, a grassroots organizer, and now an elected official.
In so many ways, growing up in America allowed me to flourish as a strong, independent woman, whose values are rooted in the power of family and community. I had found a sense of belonging in the United States and in our town of Glen Rock in northern New Jersey, where my husband and I decided to raise our two wonderful, feminist sons.
Then the 2016 election happened. It was a defining moment for me, as it was for many of us. In the aftermath of the election, my then 8-year-old son came up to me, worried that I was going to be sent back to India, and that I would no longer be able to be his mom in the U.S. It hit me right then how much more vulnerable people were feeling after the election — how insecure, how unsafe and how scared many in our community were feeling regardless of who they were.
Raising my sons in this time of near-constant crisis is difficult. I worry about them and their future on this planet. I worry about their emotional resilience and about their mental health. And I worry about the children who do not have the support systems and opportunities that my children have. But the option to do nothing is unacceptable. When my children ask me what I am doing to make a difference, I want to be able to say honestly that I am doing everything in my power to protect them, our planet, and every community that is under attack by our current administration.
I’m running for Congress not only because my Congressmember doesn’t honor my values, but also because we are living in an exceptional moment that requires bold, progressive leadership in order to build a system that works for everybody.
What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?
The climate crisis.
New Jersey is especially vulnerable to climate change. It’s one of the fastest-warming states in the country and its miles of coastline make it vulnerable to storms that are now more powerful than ever. As a councilmember in Glen Rock, NJ, I see firsthand the need to invest more in mitigating the effects of the climate crisis on a local level. Changing, more extreme weather already impacts my borough. We need short and long term planning for allocating resources to address flooding, repairing our roads and beyond. This experience underscores for me how vital it is to invest in fighting the climate crisis on the national level with a Green New Deal.
How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?
Regardless of party affiliation, folks want the same basic things for themselves and their families. We can fix the partisan divide by working to address the issues that have a real, everyday impact on people’s lives. We need to build a coalition of Congressmembers who are willing to fight for structural changes with policies that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of working families in New Jersey and across our nation. It is imperative that we build a movement of both elected officials and working people who will continue to advocate for these necessary changes.
Who is your hero?
My mom is my hero! She has always encouraged me to push beyond my own expectations of what I can achieve.
What are your hobbies?
Hiking, reading, spending time with my family, walking our dog Bailey.
What is the most recent book you read?
Unbecoming by Anuradha Bhagwati
Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?
I have two sons, Neil and Jay. We have a dog, Bailey, and a cat, Max.
How can our readers get involved in your campaign?
Visit aratiforcongress.com/organizing and sign up to volunteer!
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Post created from answers submitted by candidate to our Meet the Candidate survey.
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