Could A Millennial Reformer Become the First Indian-American in the Texas State Legislature?

Renewable energy developer, Millennial non-profit leader, and award-winning former HISD public school teacher is running in the Democratic primary for Texas Senate District 15

 Outsider Soora starts a well-funded campaign with a bold progressive agenda focused on real reform to root out corruption in Austin and update a broken system.

HOUSTONKarthik Soora, a renewable energy developer, Millennial non-profit leader, and award-winning former HISD public school teacher, announced his candidacy for Texas Senate District 15 on April 10, 2023. Soora, who co-founded education nonprofit One Jump (now Momentum Education) and the Texas chapter of TheySeeBlue Texas, a grassroots group focused on mobilizing South Asian Texas voters, is running to fix a corrupt system by passing real reforms that empower the rising majority of Texans to finally be heard in Austin.

Soora was born in Americus, Georgia, to ethnically Telugu Indian immigrants who emigrated from Chennai and Bengaluru, and he grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas.  He attended public magnet schools and graduated as valedictorian from Parkview High School in 2007. He grew up speaking Telugu and also has an intermediate proficiency in Urdu and Hindi.  Karthik then attended Rice University in Houston, graduating cum laude, earning a triple major in Political Science, History, and Asian Studies with a minor in Global Health Technologies. He met his wife Shivani Chatterjee, a fluent Bengali speaker whose family hails from Kolkata, while at the Yale School of Management in 2017.  They were married in 2020.  Shivani works for Technovation, a nonprofit focused on increasing girls’ participation in STEM, programming, and AI.  A full biography is included in the press kit.

Soora would make history in many ways. He would be the first Millennial or Generation Z Democrat in the Texas State Senate, the first in clean energy in the Texas Legislature, the first Indian-American in the Texas Legislature, the first South Asian American and the first AAPI in the Texas State Senate, and the first minority individual to represent Texas State Senate District 15, a 72% majority minority district,  since the founding of the Texas Republic.  He would also provide a voice to the over 450,000 Indian-Americans and people of Indian origin who call Texas their home as well as tens of thousands of other Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali-Americans hailing from SAARC communities.

Soora has seen firsthand the costs of failed leadership in the Texas capitol. As a teacher, Soora saw his students work hard because they wanted to be the first in their families to go to college; they’d come in on Saturdays and work till 6 on weekdays, but the system wasn’t there for them. He saw his students face out-of-control flooding, a lack of health care, a broken grid, a lack of adequate K-12 school funding, and a lack of safety as school shootings became an ever more-present threat.

At a time when Austin politicians are taking over our schools, attacking Texas renewable energy, and ignoring the vulnerabilities in our grid, we need leaders who know the issues we face and will champion reforms to make real change possible. “I am running for Texas State Senate because we can’t solve 21st-century problems with a 19th-century system. We need real reforms like banning current legislators from simultaneously serving as lobbyists, allowing citizen voices to be heard through referendums so we can put Roe v. Wade and universal gun-background checks on the ballot, and passing bold campaign finance reform to stop billionaires from buying our elections,” said Soora. “Texas Democrats know the challenges we face – gun violence, attacks on our reproductive freedoms and democracy, underfunded schools, a lack of affordable health care and housing, and the climate crisis – and change starts with passing reforms to ensure that all Texans, not just the ultra rich and MAGA Republicans, are heard in the halls of power.”

This legislative session, MAGA Republicans have continually tried to sideline renewable energy and cleantech that are creating jobs for thousands of Texans across the state. Soora is stepping up to give voice to the rising generations of Texans, particularly the Millennials and Gen Z who will make up 50% of eligible voters in 2024 and who are sick of dysfunction and bigotry, and ready for leaders who represent all of us. That’s why he’ll fight to put our Roe v. Wade rights on the ballot – just as has been done in states across the country, from Montana to Kentucky, and as recently as the Supreme Court election in Wisconsin last week.

 Soora is committed to listening to the voices of every Super Neighborhood and municipality in District 15 and fighting for them all, meeting voters where they are: from Acres Homes to Atascoscita, Greater Heights to Gulfton, or Montrose to Meyerland. In the tradition of successful first-time candidates like Rep. James Talarico, Soora plans to kick off a walking tour of the district in the coming weeks and months, and walk across the entire length of the gerrymandered district to draw attention to gerrymandering and a need for political reform, as he listens and learns from residents of all backgrounds who have been ignored by career politicians in favor of powerful special interests and billionaire donors.  Committed to representation, Soora released his announcement video in Spanish as well, voiced by him.

The Soora campaign has put together a powerhouse and diverse team including The Win Company (media consulting) and Data for Progress (polling). Strategist Myles Bugbee led Sen. Jon Tester’s 2018 digital team and consulted on campaigns such as Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate change-focused 2020 presidential bid and Gov. Katie Hobbs’ 2022 campaign, as well as Texas campaigns like Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s 2022 reelection.  Other vendors include South Asian designer Zenab Kashif, and Latino videographers and photographers: OneTap Media and Evelyn Gubler Photography.