Being born and brought up in the Tampa Bay Area myself as a citizen you see changes around your hometown and also growth and that is something everyone wants for the home town they are from. My parents came here in the 80’s along with many other South Asians hoping that they would find a good job and settle down and seeking great education for us. After many years of living in the Bay Area we have seen so much growth not just in our South Asian community but also within the Bay Area. Tampa has seen Superbowl, The Indian International Film Awards or as many call it’ Bollywood Awards’ and many other big events which attract the town.
Everyone who is from Tampa is eager to see Tampa Grow. South Asians are now joining forces with the government to make it happen as they too want to see much growth in the city. I had a chance to speak to Aakash Patel who is also a bay area resident who is also running for County Commissioner and what he had to say about the Bay Area and it’s growth and where we are heading.
Aakash Patel running for County Commissioner District 1
Congrats on running for County Commissioner – what made you decide that you wanted to run for this post in 2018?
I have always had a passion for public service. Tampa is my home and where I am growing my business. I was always raised to give back. I see this as a natural progression of giving back to my community.
You been in Tampa for a very long time over the years how do you think Tampa has grown since the time you have been here?
Since I first moved here in 1998 I have seen Tampa grow tremendously. I am excited that so many people of all age groups are moving to the greatest city in the nation. I am so impressed with the new business that have decided to relocate to the Downtown Tampa area. From the Riverwalk to the Tampa Heights area, we are an amazing attraction for the tourists all over the world.
What policy changes or investments are necessary to encourage broader employment to the bay area?
Without question we need to invest in our education institutions and ensure that we are graduating the best and the brightest.
What one part of county government would receive more attention if you were elected?
What do you see as the most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the county?
Every major city in America has an effective public transportation option. I feel that my number one priority will be helping Tampa and Hillsborough County solve this problem.
You are second first generation South Asian born in the US. Your parents must be super proud – how has the response been from the South Asian community on you running for County Commissioner?
They are very excited and supportive.
Tell us a little bit about the growth you would bring to the Bay Area if you were elected?
I would use my communication skills learned as a business owner to meet with residents to help understand their needs.
Tampa Bay has seen the Super Bowl, RiverWalk developing, Tourism Growth and a lot of economic development. How will you bring more to the bay area by ensuring that young minds stay in town to build more business in town?
I think the millennium generations, myself included, want to be involved in the process. A recent program that the Tampa Hillsborough EDC, Visit Tampa Bay, and Hillsborough County created is called Making Tampa Bay which highlights young professionals making a difference. My goal would be to expand and invest in this program to help ensure the next generation shapes our community.
Lastly, where can Hillsborough County citizens vote and find more about Aakash Patel and also attend your campaign events?
www.patel2018.com lists my events and ways to donate and people can also follow me on twitter at @pateltimes
Thanks for doing the interview with UrbanAsian.com