[Series] South Asians Spicing Up Politics: Aakash Patel
1. What experience led you to public service?
I was born in New Jersey to parents of Indian descent, and I moved to Tampa in 1998. In high school, I was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and that mantra propelled my goals for the future. I graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English Literature & Political Science where I was awarded the Milton S. Carothers Ethical Courage Award. The experience that truly defined my career so far was founding Elevate, Inc., a strategic business consulting firm that provides public relations, community relations, networking & social media.
The summer of 2005, I was a scholar of the Washington Leadership Program where I interned with Congressman Joe Wilson. That was the start of my professional public service aspirations. Twelve years later, I received the Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award from the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and was appointed by Governor Scott as Chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County and a member of the Florida Early Learning Advisory Council. Now, I serve on the University of Tampa Board of Counselors, the VP
of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, Gasparilla Film Festival, and on the Board of Directors of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
All of these experiences have inspired me to run for office and make a difference in the community I care so much about.
2. What role has your South Asian identity played in your political perspective?
My values are very family oriented as is my South Asian American identity. My involvement in the South Asian American Community through the Washington Leadership Program, Indo US Chamber of Commerce and the Indian International Film Academy, have allowed me the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals that have inspired me to make a difference in our community.
3. What advice do you have for South Asians who might run for office?
Start planning early. Make a list of supporters who will donate to your campaign, help spread the word, and support your values.
4. Why should South Asian Americans vote?
Everyone should vote because our community needs support in all aspects of government from local to state to the federal branches of government!
Polls open August 28th. Go Vote!