Washington: Indian-American hotelier Ravi Patel has announced his Congressional bid from Iowa, becoming the second Democrat to enter the race.
"I am not a politician. I am a pro-growth progressive," Patel of Cedar Rapids in Iowa said this week as he announced his decision to run for the House of Representatives from 1st Congressional District in the State for the 2016 elections.
The seat is currently held by Republican Rod Blum.
If elected, 29-year-old Patel would be the fourth Indian-American to be elected to the House of Representatives.
Ami Bera is the only Indian-American in the current Congress. He was re-elected for his second term in 2014 elections.
Other two being late Dalip Singh Saund, a Democrat in California's Central Valley, and former House member and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican.
"Our country is facing many complex challenges, and the solutions to those challenges include all of us. We need a fresh perspective and new leadership. We need a Congressman who is an innovative thinker; who is genuinely interested in serving our country and seeing it succeed," Patel said.
Patel's grandparents were farmers in India, and his parents worked multiple jobs when they first immigrated to the United States.
Born in Mena, Arkansas after his family purchased a small roadside motel there, Patel and his siblings learned the hotel business at an early age, working every job at the hotel from maintenance, to housekeeping, to night shifts at the front desk.
Eventually his family moved to Burlington, Iowa where they continued to grow their family business.
Upon graduating from the University of Iowa, he joined his family's company full-time and now serves as Principal and President.
Since joining Hawkeye Hotels, Patel has personally overseen more than 40 acquisition and new development projects.