On May 21st, Elevate, Inc. President and Hillsborough County Commissioner candidate, Aakash Patel, spoke on The Consumer Quarterback Show. Hosted by local businessman, Brandon Rimes, the show enabled Patel to discuss important issues facing the Tampa Bay area and delve into his four major platforms: transportation, education, economic development, and tourism. Patel, who has lived and worked in the South Tampa area for over a decade, wants to run because he believes the city needs elected officials focused on carrying out the hard work needed to ensure the area is grounded by strategic plans through the next six years.
Patel believes transportation is one of the biggest issues facing our area. Tampa Bay has previously engaged in discussions about high-speed rail. When Rimes asked for Patel’s take on the issue, the candidate expressed his stance that while it’s a great option for other cities it’s not a good one for Tampa because of the city’s structure. Patel shared, “We need to figure out if it’s feasible, affordable, and really helpful to the community.” He believes the area needs things that provide an immediate impact, like road widening and carpool lanes.
Patel spoke with Rimes about his involvement with the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County. He chairs the Coalition’s board of directors, an appointment bestowed on him by Governor Scott in 2014. A graduate of Sickles High School and Florida State University, Patel knows investing in children is crucial: “I’ve never met a parent who says they don’t want their child to get a good education.”
The candidate and businessman said to Rimes that his professional experience is an asset: “If you want to be a public servant, you have to have the business experience and you have to be in touch with the public. As a society, we’ve lost touch with that.” He’s determined to help Tampa capitalize on the interest major companies have in relocating to the area because of the quality of life and affordability it provides—Mosaic’s relocation is the most recent example. Patel has great respect for Mayor Buckhorn and the economic development he’s brought: “Our economy has grown tenfold with him. We have to find a leader who’s going to continue his vision. He’s pro-Tampa and pro-business.”
The longtime Floridian knows that tourism is the state’s number one industry. Over 100 million people visit the state each year, and many of those stay. “One thousand people move to Florida each day and one third of them are in the bay area,” explained Patel. Entrenched in various sectors of the bay area and the state as a whole, Patel understands that there are a number of benefits and challenges that arise as the area grows. As a public servant, he’s looking to bring about the changes necessary to help Tampa and Florida remain on a growth trajectory and thrive. He appreciates that as a county commissioner he’ll be able to regularly interact with constituents and implement decisions within weeks, as opposed to Congress where change can take years.
Taking Action to Deliver Results
Patel has raised an unprecedented amount of money for his campaign. While campaigns need money, the aspiring politician knows that it takes more than money to earn the county commission seat: “I have friends in business who want change and they help me raise money. Most important for candidates is getting to know the people and getting to know the issues.” Getting to know those things takes time and, like money, time is an integral resource for the campaign. The candidate is actively meeting with neighborhood associations and community leaders. Along with teams of volunteers, he spends every Saturday knocking on doors: “It shouldn’t be ‘I’m running for office, now write me a check.’” Patel encourages constituents to reach out to him: “Don’t wait until I get elected.”
The 2018 primary election takes place on August 28th, and Patel encourages voters to be informed: “Know where you go to vote and know whom you’re going to vote for.” He wants voters to reach out to him directly: “Even if we disagree, reach out and let’s have a discussion.” He also believes it’s good practice for voters to get sample ballots, visit the Constitution Revision Commission website, read the newspaper to know what all sides are saying, and talk to peers within their professions to see which candidates professional associations support.
According to Patel, “Public service is about making sure the public is represented to its best interest.” With the support of his friends and family, Patel is determined to represent District 1 to the best of his ability and with the district’s best interests in both his mind and heart. #Patel2018
Categorized in: Work
This post was written by Elevate, Inc.