“We need a leader who wants to bring people together to get things done, not divide us.”
With those words, Bhavini Patel announced her candidacy for the 12th Congressional District seat against Democratic incumbent Summer Lee.
“We need a member of Congress in touch and laser-focused on helping real people in this district,” said the Edgewood Borough Council member who had hoped to succeed Lee in the Pennsylvania state house in 2022.
Her story is compelling and offers Democratic voters an option to consider.
“As the daughter of a single, immigrant mother from India, I know firsthand the power of hard work, grit, and determination. My family proves that the American Dream is still alive in Western PA,” she wrote in a statement on her Facebook campaign page.
“I grew up in Monroeville and attended the Gateway School District while working in my family’s food truck business, where I learned to dream BIG. I became the first in my family to graduate from college (Pitt) – then I went on to earn a Master’s at Oxford.
“I understand the unique challenges facing our community, from gun violence to small businesses struggling to make payroll. I have a proven track record of public service, having worked in the Office of the Allegheny County Executive, serving on council, and starting a business.
The challenges faced by my family aren’t unique. PA-12 is a community made strong by our shared values and commitment to building a region that works for every neighborhood and every family, so everyone can live the American Dream.”
She says her priorities would include creating good-paying union jobs in the district, being an ally in Congress to all LGBTQ Americans, working to lower drug prices and the cost of insurance, and protecting and restoring abortion access.
Patel will be challenging Lee, who is in her first term in Washington and a champion for local Democratic progressives.
The American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby, spent millions opposing Lee last year and has publicly sparred with her over her support for conditioning U.S. aid to Israel, as well as her decision to boycott Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s address to Congress in July.
Members of J Street Pittsburgh, a local chapter of the progressive Israel advocacy group, messaged supporters that “Lee has become a top target for AIPAC’s vicious attacks claiming (Lee) is anti-Israel and anti-America.”
Lee defeated Mike Doyle by 13 points in the 12th District general election in 2022, after edging Steve Irwin by 988 votes in the primary.