Interview with Salman Bhojani
This is a pretty jam packed blog/podcast. We have an interview with the newly elected Euless city councilman Salman Bhojani with an abbreviated transcript below. Of course, we have to discuss some of the main winners/losers from the Texas Primary Runoff Elections. And finally, we discuss our thoughts on the Santa Fe shootings, the Governor's plan going forward and what some of our elected officials are saying.
Who won the Texas Primary runoffs?
Very low voter turnout for both parties.
The Democratic Voter turnout: just 415,000 Democrats had cast ballots in the gubernatorial runoff. For reference, that's a decline of almost 60 percent from the 1 million Texans who cast ballots in the March Democratic primary (via Texas Tribune).
Granted more Democrats turned out for this Gubernatorial Primary Runoff Election, voter turnout as a whole is too low for all Texans.
Sri Preston Kulkarni, won his Democratic Primary runoff race and is going to be running for Congress for TX-22 encompassing the cities of Sugarland, Pearland and Katy.
Lizzie Fletcher won her Democratic Primary runoff for TX-7, which was a hotly contested race against Laura Moser.
Lupe Valdez won the Democratic gubernatorial runoff against Andrew White and will now face Governor Greg Abbott in November.
Chip Roy, Ted Cruz's former chief of staff, won his Republican Primary runoff for TX-21.
Whereas for Congressional seats, it looks like more Tea Party Republicans won their Primaries, and if the district is heavily Republican, they have a sure shot win in November. This does not bode well for Texas.
Thoughts on Santa Fe & What You Can Do
I can’t imagine being a parent and thinking what if my kid gets shot at school today? And have to think like that every freaking day. This is so unbelievably heartbreaking.
For all the talk Democrats throw at Republicans about gun reform, why did some Democrats take NRA money? Why doesn’t either party shut down the government for gun reform? They all talk the talk but neither party has done anything whatsoever and never will until we vote them ALL OUT.
Many politicians running for election hold townhall meetings. Ask them what they intend to do about gun reform. And if they get elected, hold them to what they said because a lot of them (Democrats and Republicans) all say the right words but don’t actually do anything.
And if they don’t follow through, ask them why? Continue holding them accountable and it’s better to get a group within your district to keep hounding your state and federal officials.
Elections are coming up in November for all Texas state officials, your state reps and your congressional reps in DC. Now is the time to start bugging them! Stop waiting for SOMEONE ELSE to do it for you, start doing it YOURSELF.
Finally, a great lobby group to check out is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
What are Texas Politicians doing after Santa Fe?
Governor Abbott (FYI: up for reelection in November 2018) held three roundtable discussions with lawmakers, law enforcement, teachers, the victims from Santa Fe high school, and policy makers.
Meanwhile, these are what other Texas elected officials are saying about Gun Reform and the Santa Fe shootings...
“We may have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built,” he said. “And what I mean by that is there are too many entrances and too many exits to our over 8,000 campuses in Texas.”
"Nothing is foolproof. No policy proposal will work 100% of the time, nor will it eradicate evil men intent on wanton destruction. There is a deep-seated cultural decay — fatherless children, degradation of human life across society, widespread moral confusion, etc. — at the root of this issue, and politics alone cannot repair it. But we owe it to our children to at least ensure their safety while at school. Israel has done it, and so can we.”
Of course our prayers are with those families affected by the Santa Fe shootings.
Sabika was attending Santa Fe high school as an exchange student from Karachi, Pakistan. She had hoped to be back home for Eid. Unfortunately, she was one of the 10 victims that died in the Santa Fe shootings.
Her family believed she would be safer in the USA than in Pakistan.
interview with salman bhojani
A Brief Transcript of the Interview
By Areeba Amer
This week, I interviewed Salman Bhojani, who was recently elected into Euless City Council, becoming the first minority to be elected in that city. Read more about his victory here.
Transcription was edited for brevity and clarity.
What made you want to run for City Council?
As you know our community is not represented very well in [politics]. That was my first motivation- I saw a lot of colleagues running and not breaking 20% of the vote.
You won by 37 votes. What can you tell your listeners about the importance of voting?
Our community does not go out to vote as much. It’s improving, but I think generally we need to go out [and vote].
We need to [encourage participation]. Do not just go by yourselves. Take a family member or your whole family or community to vote. Take your kids as well so we are training the next generation to vote. I really encourage everyone to vote at every election and be more informed about who is running.
What did you feel that was different than other South Asians to motivate the community to vote?
It was important to speak to them one-on-one. When you go to speak to them as a whole crowd, people don’t get as excited.
While you were running, you faced a lot of bigotry with voters. How did you overcome it and were you able to change some of their minds?
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to change someone’s mind which is already made up.
The way I dealt with it was that I looked at what was in my core: my family and the love I have for them. In the end, that was not going to change, regardless if I had won or not. So, I decided to project the best values that my parents have taught me, my religion has taught me, and my community has taught me and see what we can try do to.
Let’s talk about Representative Jonathan Stickland, who is a member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 92. He’s your state representative in Austin and essentially said you were liberal, even though you were technically running for a non-partisan position. He also attacked you based on your faith. [Read more here] How did that make you feel consider you are also technically his constituent?
That was really disheartening. Constituents, okay, can’t be held to a high standard, but state representatives should be held to a higher standard than the constituents. I was not only fighting my opponent, but also my state representative.
But I’m just being honest, what does religion have to do with elected officials? Now that I’m elected, I’m making sure that it’s not about my religion, it’s about the city and my views.
What’s your advice to those South Asians or Muslims who want to run for office but are weary because of the current political climate?
I would ask them not to be weary because there’s light at the end of the tunnel. They need to run very professional campaign. As minorities, we need to raise the bar and do a lot of hard work that we may not have to do if we were white. We need more donations, more volunteers, more grassroots.
Keep your campaign focused on your city. I never talked about abortion or gun control. We need to go above and talk about what matters most to voters.
Be active on social media.
I’d like to also offer my help. If anyone is interested in running, please reach out on Facebook or through my law firm.