Many questions have arisen about the embattled congressional candidate for New York’s 12th district, Suraj Patel. Most recently, Mr. Patel, a lawyer by practice, has been railed against for his seemingly inappropriate Facebook comments (linked below) regarding gymnast Mckayla Maroney, which were featured in the Daily Mail, New York Post, and the Daily Caller. Because of this controversy, Grace High School retracted their offer to Mr. Patel to speak at the school. Despite the undesirable attention that Mr. Patel has received regarding his comments, the congressional hopeful has many ideas about the current state of our government, and the possibility of his career as a congressman. Suraj Patel currently teaches business ethics at NYU Stern Business School, and is the President of a national hospitality company, Sun Group and Co. To learn more about Mr. Patel’s views, I sat down with him at 64 Cooper Square, no more than fifty yards away from the Grace High School campus.
When discussing the initiatives he would pursue if he were elected to the House of Representatives, Mr. Patel brought up an assault weapons ban as his first priority. He added that he was not sure if it would be possible with a Republican-controlled house, but it could not come at a more urgent time. He also mentioned that he was in middle school at the time of the Columbine massacre, and has ever since been invested in the fight for gun reform. In his discussion of a potential assault weapons ban, Mr. Patel did not spare those protecting lax gun laws, “They’ve always blamed something else as the culprit, we need to shift the conversation to guns. There is no reason that human killing machines should be allowed for private citizens.”
When I asked Mr. Patel about the policies that he sees as most pertinent to New York’s 12th congressional district, he brought up infrastructure first and foremost. He says that there has been a continuous underinvestment in our infrastructure, particularly, subways, bridges, and roads. He said the district’s infrastructure should be less built around cars and more around people. Mr. Patel said of the 12th district, “Our politics are far behind our people,” and that, “We are missing opportunities to embrace innovations that would make our lives better.” As an example, he cited self-driving cars, which he sees as something that could make a big difference in Manhattan.
Along with his ideas of what needs improvement in the 12th district, Mr. Patel shared his thoughts about President Donald Trump and the turmoil that seems to surround him constantly. He says impeachment proceedings should definitely take place if Trump obstructs justice, or is found to have colluded with Russia by Special Counsel run by Robert Mueller. On the subject of Donald Trump, a particular phrase comes to Mr. Patel’s mind, “Not under man but under God and law.” He believes that Donald Trump thinks he is above the law and absolutely cannot go unchecked for the sake of our democracy. Pumping the breaks on his anti-Trump rhetoric, Mr. Patel mentioned that, although he believes Donald Trump should almost definitely be impeached at the end of the day, impeachment should not become a partisan tool, “Our country is more important than one horrible President.”
Through my conversation with Suraj Patel, I learned that, while he may have slim odds at becoming our next congressman, he has plenty of ideas for what could be done differently in federal representation of the 12th district. Mr. Patel made it clear that values the lives of the people of our district, and would do what he could to make sure our interests are represented in the House of Representatives.