Indian American Darshana Patel wins Democratic nomination in California’s North County

Darshana Patel, California
Darshana Patel, California
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Darshana Patel

Indian American research scientist Darshana Patel, 49, has won the Democratic nomination for California's Assembly District 76, with Kristie Bruce-Lane securing the Republican nomination for the same constituency, defeating Joseph C. Rocha. Both contenders are set to vie for the seat soon to be vacated by the termed-out Brian Maienschein in the California State Assembly.

The North County seat, presently occupied by Brian Maienschein, will become available after 2024 due to term limits.

As the California State Assembly primary election results unfold, it becomes evident that the contest for the 76th Assembly District seat will feature a showdown between Republican candidate Kristie Bruce-Lane (pictured left) and Democrat Darshana Patel (pictured right). With the departure of the incumbent Brian Maienschein, a competitive race ensues as the two candidates vie for the vacant position.

CA District 76
California's North County, District 76, San Diego Area

Last year, Darshana Patel, an Indian-American woman and research scientist, had declared her candidacy for the California State Assembly District 76. In her campaign, she pledged to prioritize public education, community safety, environmental protection, workforce and housing issues, and enhanced healthcare access for all Californians. 

Patel proudly boasts endorsements from the Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Sierra Club, as well as local nurses, teachers, and firefighters.

Her primary objectives for her initial term include:

  • Recruit a highly qualified, diverse staff to deliver high-quality constituent services and build a rapport with colleagues so that I can build strong coalitions to support effective policies that matter most to our communities.
  • Seek committee appointments that align with my priorities to strengthen public education, combat climate change, defend reproductive rights, create jobs, reduce the costs of housing and healthcare and keep our communities safe.
  • Ensure that my proposed legislation and votes align with my goals to be fiscally responsible, to create sustainable opportunity and to build effective policy.

"As the daughter of immigrants who struggled to realize the American Dream, I understand the challenges families face during difficult times," Ms. Patel, a community leader and Democrat, earlier expressed to the Times of San Diego.

Ms. Patel's involvement in the Poway Unified board during a period of financial mismanagement and criminal embezzlement enabled her to restore fiscal responsibility, leading to her reelection in 2020. She states, "I am running for State Assembly because I want to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to succeed and thrive. I can leverage my background as a scientist, elected school board member, and civic leader to effect positive change in their lives."

Recognized for her contributions to the San Diego region, Darshana Patel was named the San Diego County School Boards Association First Term Board Member of the Year in 2019 and received the 2022 City of San Diego Woman of Distinction award.

As a second-generation American-born Indian woman, Darshana Patel recognizes that success stems from persistence, dedication, and collaboration, values that have guided her through challenges and fueled her commitment to creating opportunities for others. She resides in San Diego's Rancho Peñasquitos community with her husband and three daughters, all attending Poway Unified schools.

In addition to her tenure on the school board, Patel serves on the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs and presides over the San Diego County School Boards Association. Previously, she held executive roles on the Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board, Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council, Park Village Elementary School PTA, and Education Foundation Board.

Darshana Patel holds a BA in Biochemistry from Occidental College and a PhD in Biophysics from the University of California, Irvine.

Ms. Patel, her husband, and their three daughters make their home in San Diego.



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