The Natural State has always had a flair for creating unlikely leaders. My unlikely story began when my parents moved to this country with little money and even fewer friends. They lived the American Dream working hard every waking moment to provide their only child a bright future. I had opportunities beyond my wildest dreams- going to college to earn a degree and launching a career in education.
I moved to Helena to teach, and found a community brimming with promise and potential. I also discovered neighborhoods where the doors of opportunity are closed to far too many.
The challenges of today have come into focus. Our jobs may not exist a year from now. Drug addiction is claiming lives and destroying many more. There are parents fighting hard for a high-quality education for their children. And small business owners have seen high speed broadband revolutionize industry in big cities, but have been left watching on the sidelines. This is a moment that requires people who can bridge divides - between old and young, urban and rural, newcomers and natives - the same bridges I have spent my career building. I helped open a community center in the heart of Helena’s historic downtown and in doing so, witnessed the magic that can happen when community members join forces.
In today's political climate we hear a lot about values. But my parents taught me that a person’s values have nothing to do with how they use that word in a political ad and everything to do with what they've spent their life doing. I’m Chintan Desai and I’m running for Congress because I believe in Arkansas. I believe that all Arkansans have the right to the same opportunities I've had in my life no matter where you live, no matter who your family is, no matter the color of your skin.
Chintan Desai grew up in the bright light of America, in San Luis Obispo, California, the son of Indian immigrant parents. He attended the University of California, Davis for his undergraduate degree, where he studied Political Science. He joined Teach For America's 2010 corps and worked as a fifth grade social studies teacher for two years at KIPP Delta Public Schools, located in the rural Arkansas Delta town of Helena. He has worked as the region's Executive Assistant, worked for a year and a half on staff for Teach For America Arkansas, and has since returned to KIPP Delta as its regional Project Manager.