Thanedar’s win comes after Michigan lost a congressional district following the 2020 U.S. Census due to stagnant population growth.
Voters in Detroit were divided into two districts: the 12th and 13th. According to BridgeMichigan, the new 13th links Detroiters in the city’s east and southwest neighborhoods with Grosse Pointes and a handful of downriver communities, including Taylor, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, and Southgate.
Because Rep. Brenda Lawrence opted out of running for reelection after the redistricting process and Rep. Rashida Tlaib chose to run in the new 12th District, the 13th was considered to be wide open.
After Thanedar won the primary, many expressed sadness that Detroit would not have a Black member of Congress for the first time in decades. However, in an interview with BridgeDetroit, Thanedar assured readers that while he understands that race is an important factor, he would continue to listen to residents and serve the community.
After winning the primary he told Detroit Today that if elected, a goal of his will be to build a relationship and work with the Congressional Black Caucus.
“45% of my district is African Americans,” says Thanedar. “And as their next congressman, if I’m so honored to get elected… it is my duty to serve this community in the nation’s capital.”
Thanedar’s campaign has focused on abortion rights, a single-payer health care system, gun control measures, and further investments in education. Reflecting back on his own childhood experiences in India, Thanedar has expressed plans to improve the circumstances of those living in poverty.
He told the Hindustani Times that having been born as the eldest son to a lower middle class family in 1955, he had several responsibilities to take on at a young age.
“My father worked as a clerk in the court system. The family was doing ok till he was forced to retire at 55. I had six sisters and a younger brother and the costs of marrying his daughters, health costs depleted his savings. I was only 14 then, but I was the elder son and, as is the case in Indian culture, felt this tremendous pressure to take care of the family,” Thanedar said.
He noted that he took up a job as a janitor and assistant in a dental clinic to help support his family and hid it from them since these jobs were considered “menial."
“Whatever money she gave me to shop for the house, I added my own money to the kitty. She thought I was a great shopper because I would bring a lot more for the value of money she gave,” Thanedar said.
He later went on to finish his degree in chemistry and pursued his masters degree to help further support his family.
“I was not a good student and got only what was called second class in high school. In the first two years of college too, I didn’t do well academically but then I realized that if I had to help my family, I needed to study harder. Our home was just 900 square feet and there was no space to study, so I made myself a little study room in the attic.”
Thanedar eventually did very well, receiving his masters with distinction, the outlet reported.
His experience in India not only shaped his passion for economic change but for politics. By experiencing police brutality there, he connected directly with the issues of police brutality and criminal justice reform in the U.S.
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