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xx Parag Mehta in Transition Team
« Thread started on: Nov 19th, 2008, 09:23am »



http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/nov/18uspoll-another-indian-american-in-obama-transition-team.htm

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Central Texas man in Obama Transition Team

Another Indian American in Obama's transition team

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | November 18, 2008 10:19 IST

Yet another young Indian American Democratic Party activist has been named for United States President-elect Barack Obama's transition team.

Parag Mehta, 31, has been named the deputy director of inter-governmental affairs and public liaison of the Obama-Biden transition team, charged with outreach to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other minority groups.

His appointment follows close on the heels of the appointments of two Indian Americans -- Sonal Shah, who was named as member of the 15-member official transition board and Nick Rathod, who was named director of the transition team's office of inter-governmental affairs.

On Friday (Nov 14), Mehta resigned from his job as director, external communications for the Democratic National Committee, a post to which he was appointed four months ago. It was the highest-ranking staff position held by an Indian American in the party apparatus.

Earlier, he was director of training for the DNC.

The Worcester, Massachusetts-born Mehta said that he was 'absolutely thrilled and excited' to join the Obama-Biden transition team, which could be a springboard to a position in the Obama administration.

Mehta is also "thrilled to be working with Nick (Rathod), who will be directing inter-governmental affairs, and I will be working in public liaison with the department right next to his."

He said that besides outreaching to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, his mandate would also include reaching out "to lesbians, gays and bi-sexuals and also a couple of issue areas. So, I will be reaching out to these groups too besides Asian Pacific Americans."

But, Mehta explained that "the office is not just for minority groups. The office also includes small businesses, doctors, lawyers, rural farmers-so it's a pretty large portfolio."

"In fact, you'll remember when Shamina (Singh) and I were in the Clinton administration, the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders was created by the Office of Public Liaison," he said.

At the time, Singh was executive director of this Asian American Pacific Islander Initiative, and Mehta was the communications chief of this Initiative.

Thus, he said, the job with the Obama transition team was something right up his street "and it's absolutely perfect for me --going back to finish the work that we started eight years ago."

Mehta reiterated that he would certainly love to serve in an Obama administration following his stint in the transition office. "I will be happy to serve in whatever position I can," he said.

In an earlier interview, when he was appointed director of external communications for the DNC, Mehta, a passionate and avowed Democrat, said, "My family is in this country because of the Democratic Party -- from Robert Kennedy to Barack Obama, it is the Democrats who stood up for the values of fairness, fiscal responsibility and an approach to foreign policy that tries to lead by our principles, rather than rule by chest-thumping."

Recalling how he got involved with the DNC and rose to the role of director, Mehta said, "I heard Governor (Howard) Dean (now chairman of the DNC) opposing the Iraq war before it even started. So, in the summer of 2003, I quit my job, packed up my car and drove to Vermont to volunteer for his presidential campaign. Between licking envelopes and making phone calls, I drafted a proposal for the campaign to reach out to the Asian American community -- and it got the campaign's attention."

"One day I got called on to fill in for the Governor's Spanish coach, to help him record a TV ad, and we hit it off. Eventually, I was offered a job working for the campaign's national political director, managing endorsements from labor unions and elected officials. Best of all, I got sign-off to run my program for outreach to the Asian, Arab, Muslim and Pacific Islander communities."

"A year later, when Dean was elected chairman, he asked me to join the team he was building at the Democratic National Committee. He spoke of a 50-state strategy and asked me to take on the job of training director, traveling to all 50 states -- and even abroad -- to train Democrats on how to build a stronger party and win elections."

He said the "investments of time, money, staff and training the DNC made in all-but-forgotten 'red states' and taken-for-granted 'blue states' led to the great thumping of 2006 (when the Democrats won back both the House and the Senate after more than a decade). It also paved the way for the massive registration and turnout of voters in this year's presidential primaries."

Mehta added, "In my home state of Texas, more people voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in this year's presidential primary than for John Kerry in the 2004 general election. The American people's desire for change, the investments of Howard Dean and the groundbreaking campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have transformed the political landscape for 2008."

On the involvement of Indian Americans, particularly the second generation, he said, "It's amazing to see how many Indian Americans are working in campaigns. We used to get together in small groups after work to commiserate about being brown kids in politics. Now there are so many of us that we have to pull tables together in the Congressional cafeteria just to fit everyone who shows up."

"The key is that my generation," Mehta said, "we really try to help each other out. We don't see each other as competitors, but rather as compatriots who share a similar experience. In fact, my first job in DC was working for Shamina Singh (who was the first executive director of the Presidential Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders) in the Clinton White House. That means we have a responsibility to the next crop of Asians who want to get into politics."

Mehta, who was valedictorian of Temple High School, class of 1994. He received his bachelor in Liberal Arts Honors (Plan II) from the University of Texas at Austin and Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

His father, Dr Vijay A Mehta, served Central Texas VA for 28 years, is a general surgeon who hails from Jamnagar in India and his mother, Dr Vinoo V Mehta, is a physician at Waco VA Hospital, was raised in Mumbai.

Mehta has two siblings, an older sister, Ami Buddin, a nurse in Pensacola, Florida and a younger brother, Chirag Mehta, a student in Temple, Texas.
« Last Edit: Nov 19th, 2008, 6:53pm by Vijay Mehta » User IP Logged

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xx Confession of a Desi Parent
« Reply #1 on: Nov 25th, 2008, 10:03am »


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Another_Gujarati_on_board_Obamas_team/articleshow/3751416.cms

Another Gujarati on board Obama's team
24 Nov 2008, 1600 hrs IST, Himanshu Kaushik , TNN

SEATTLE: Dr Vijay Mehta, a retired surgeon in Texas, US, is very happy his son did not listen to him. If his son had listened, he would have
been yet another doctor of Indian origin in US. Instead, Parag Mehta, 31, is today part of a team of advisors to the most powerful man in the world — US president-elect Barack Obama.

Parag has been named as deputy director of inter-governmental affairs and public liaison of Obama’s transition team. He was also promoted from external communications for Democratic National Committee (DNC) to national training director of DNC recently.

Apart from the general reluctance of NRGs to see their children in politics, the doctor pedigree was all there.
While Mehta Sr passed out of Jamnagar Medical College, his mother Vinoo Mehta, too is a doctor, having taken her degree from KEM Medical College
, Mumbai. Interestingly, the family has come to Gujarat only twice since they migrated to US in 1972.

The proud father says, “Both of us wanted him to become a doctor, given the tradition in the family. But, Parag was always interested in politics and charted his own path.” He adds, “Parag has proved me wrong for having opposed his decision to join politics. In fact, his appointment is a great awakening for Indians, especially Gujaratis, who discourage their children from following their own dream.”

Parag’s appointment follows close on the heels of the appointments of two other Gujaratis — Sonal Shah, who was named as member of the 15-member official transition board and Nick Rathod, who was named director of the transition team’s office of inter-governmental affairs.

Parag’s elder sister Ami Buddin is a nurse in Pensacola, Florida while younger brother Chirag is a student in Temple, Texas.

Courtesy: www.timesofindia.com



Confession of a Desi Parent!

Like many desi parents, and being physicians ourselves, our vision for Parag was him serving the humanity as a physician. It was a shock to us when during his junior year at UT Plan II Parag announced that he was not going to pursue Medicine as a career.

Coming from India our concept of "politics" was not something of a noble profession. However, Parag wanted to serve the humanity thru politics. He persisted. Our efforts to change his mind failed (to our frustration) and rest is history.

As India is moving towards becoming a leading democracy in the world, would it be too much to ask to clean up our political system to a level where our best and brightest are attracted to public service to serve the nation?

Lesson to other Desi Parents..... may be sometimes with all our good intentions and knowledge of life, we are wrong. - Vijay Mehta




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xx Temple Daily Telegram 11/27/08 - Front page
« Reply #2 on: Nov 26th, 2008, 08:05am »

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From page 7
..... Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

His participation in local activities began early when he was growing up in Central Texas. As a seventh-grader, he did an internship at the Temple Daily Telegram. In eighth grade, he won the annual spelling bee, which is hosted by the newspaper.

His father, Dr. Vijay A. Mehta, who served Central Texas VA for 28 years, once encouraged Parag to go into a medical field.

He admits now he’s glad his son didn’t listen.

“Maybe sometimes with all our good intentions and knowledge of life, we are wrong,” Vijay Mehta, a general surgeon who hails from Jamnagar in India, wrote in a recent blog posting to other parents.

Parag’s mother, Dr. Vinoo V. Mehta, is a physician at Waco VA Hospital, and was raised in Mumbai.

Mehta has two siblings - older sister, Ami Buddin, a nurse in Pensacola, Fla., and younger brother, Chirag Mehta, a student at Austin School Massage Therapy in Killeen.

Mehta worked in the Clinton administration during the time the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders was created by the Office of Public Liaison. He served as the communications chief. He also worked for about a year in President George W. Bush’s administration.
« Last Edit: Dec 2nd, 2008, 09:42am by Vijay Mehta » User IP Logged

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xx India Abroad Nov 28, 2008 - Front page
« Reply #3 on: Nov 30th, 2008, 4:35pm »

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« Last Edit: Dec 2nd, 2008, 09:42am by Vijay Mehta » User IP Logged

Greatest threat to Hindu religion comes from Dhongi Baba - Dada - Didi - Swami etc.
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xx Re: Lesson learned
« Reply #4 on: Jun 21st, 2010, 08:40am »

Hope other Desi parents across the globe will get message from Confession of Desi Parent & also from movies like Three Idiots.
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