REP SHRI THANEDAR
I’m an immigrant, scientist, entrepreneur, husband, father, and grandfather who knows what it’s like to not know how you’re going to pay for your next meal. I grew up in poverty in India, in a family of 10, where I remember going to the river to get drinking water. After my father retired, it fell to me to care for my family, so I worked as a janitor while in college.
At the age of 24 I came to America in search of opportunity and a better life, with $20 in my pocket. I still remember working as a teaching assistant in 1979. My $300 monthly salary wasn’t much to live on – especially after sending $75 each month to help my family still living in India. But through hard work and a little bit of luck, I was able to earn an MBA and a PhD in Chemistry.
After graduation I worked as a research scholar at the University of Michigan. But my real passion was for entrepreneurship. For over 25 years, I built small businesses and created more than 500 well-paying jobs that helped families. I am a three-time recipient of the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award by Ernst and Young.
After I retired from the business world, I answered the call to fight for social, racial and economic justice. I found inspiration and guidance in the works of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and my personal experiences with crippling poverty and discrimination because of my color. I committed to using my story to inspire others, and my skills to create opportunities for all members of my community.
In 2018 I ran for Governor on a platform of progressive solutions, like a $15 minimum wage, and paid sick leave for working people. I know how important it is for Michigan families to have opportunities to earn a good-paying wage with one job instead of needing two or three jobs to make ends meet.
In 2020 I was elected to the Michigan State House. I represent Detroit in Lansing where I go to work every day fighting to bring funding back to our community. In Lansing, I’ve taken on the powerful corporations and special interests who all too often have outsized influence on our politics or use lobbyists to try and buy votes. This is exactly what is wrong with politics today.
I’ll never forget what it’s like to live in poverty, and I’ll never stop working to lift Detroit families out of it.