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Several South Asian Americans Win Democratic Primaries, Runoffs in Texas; Poised to Make History in November

Several South Asian Americans Win Democratic Primaries, Runoffs in Texas; Poised to Make History in November

  • Indian American Sandeep Srivastava wins nomination for the U.S. House in Texas' third Congressional District; Manpreet Singh wins runoff election for judge of the Harris County Civil; and Pakistani Americans Suleman Lalani and Salman Bhojani win bids to state House.

Several South Asian Americans from Texas are poised to make history in the November election. Physician Suleman Lalani defeated runoff opponent Vanesia Johnson in the Democratic primary for the Texas state House on March 24. With this win, Lalani could become the first Muslim state lawmaker in Texas history. 

Similarly, Manpreet (Monica) Singh, a Democrat, ousted Treasea Trevino, in the March 24 runoff election for judge of the Harris County Civil County Court at Law No. 4. If elected, she will be the first Sikh American woman elected to a court in the state. 

Manpreet (Monica) Singh with her family.

Also in the fray for the general election are Indian American Sandeep Srivastava, who won the Democratic nomination for the United States House in Texas’ third Congressional District, and Pakistani American Salman Bhojani, a former city councilman in the North Texas suburban city of Euless, who is favored to win a state House seat from District 92 in November. Both Srivastava and Bhojani won their nominations in the March 1 primary. 

Lalani, a Pakistani American, ran from the newly formed state House district 76, which leans heavily Democratic, and covers parts of Sugar Land, Mission Bend and unincorporated Fort Bend County. “Nearly half the residents were added from another House district where Lalani was the Democratic nominee last cycle, giving him a built-in edge over his primary foes,” the Houston Chronicle reported. 

He has been in private practice in the Greater Houston area for the last two decades and in Sugar Land for 17 years. He arrived in the U.S. in the early 90s to begin his medical career. He completed his fellowship training at Baylor College of Medicine and has attended courses at Harvard Medical School and Columbia University College of Physicians. He has been triple board-certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and he has also been certified by the American Medical Directors Association. He is also recognized by the National Register of Who’s Who for Excellence in Geriatric Medicine. He has been serving in various leadership roles in both professional and social organizations and medical institutions. 

Born and raised in Houston, Singh, the daughter of immigrants from India, grew up in Northwest Houston and attended Klein Forest High School, the University of Texas at Austin, and finally the South Texas College of Law. 

In addition to practicing law for 20 years and having tried over 100 cases, Monica is heavily involved in numerous civil rights organizations at a local, state, and national level. Currently, she is on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Lyceum, and the Sikh Coalition (also serving as Trustee). She is also a Chapter Representative for the exclusive American Board of Trial Advocates and an ongoing lecturer for the Texas Bar CLE classes. 

She was on Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s transition team and served as a liaison with the Department of Homeland Security. She and her husband Mandeep have been married for 19 years and they live in Bellaire. Together they enjoy traveling and spending time with their two soccer-loving boys that attend Bellaire High School.

Srivastava is a first-generation immigrant and learned the importance of giving back and helping others at a young age from his mother who was an elected official in India. He moved to the U.S. with his wife and two children to pursue the American Dream.

A few years later, he established a South Asian organization that engaged stakeholders in the community before starting his own real estate business in Plano. After a successful career in business, he and his wife started a daycare center, to fill a void in the community for quality and affordable childcare. As a father of two, Srivastava says on his website that he “has deep roots in District 3” and believes “that his small business experience, exceptional managerial skills, and desire to better the community is the exact type of leadership this district needs.”

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Salman Bhojani with his family.

Bhojani, an entrepreneur and attorney, was elected to Euless City Council in 2018, and served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2020. Born in Pakistan to a large family, Bhojani lived in Canada for a time before settling in the Lone Star State. He started out supporting his family by working at gas stations for minimum wage.

Eventually, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen, earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas, and owned his own convenience stores. He went on to earn a law degree from Southern Methodist University and a Comparative Law Diploma from Oxford University. He worked at the Dallas office of international law firm Haynes and Boone LLP before founding his own firm. 

“As a young person I believed, as I still do, that hard work, education, and sticking to a vision will eventually lead to success,” he says on his website. “I am certainly proof that anything is possible, considering the challenges I have faced.”

After settling in Euless with his young family, he continued to focus on his law practice and businesses, but he also became engaged in public service. In 2018, in a campaign that made national headlines, he became the first minority City Council Member in Euless history. He lives in North Texas with his wife Nima and their two kids. 

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