Riceland’s Tahir Javed Running for Gene Green’s Dist. 29 Congress Seat

Pakistani American Tahir Javed, the CEO of Riceland Healthcare, is running for Congress in Texas’ 29th congressional district. (Website Picture)

Pakistani American Tahir Javed, the CEO of Riceland Healthcare, is running for Congress in Texas’ 29th congressional district. (Website Picture)

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: A relative unknown to the Indo-American community in the Metroplex until a fundraising relief gala for Hurricane Harvey (see IAN dated October 19, 2017)  in which his company had joined forces with the Indian Doctors Association and its national organization AAPI, Tahir Javed, 51, was better known among the local Pakistani-American community for his successful business acumen.

Last December, Javed made sure to change all of that by surprising everyone and filing papers to run for the 29th Congressional District House seat being vacated by Gene Green who is retiring after 25 years in the position. The meandering district which circles around East Houston, includes South Houston, Pasadena and extends around Interstate 45 North and South is predominantly Latino with 88% of Mexican descent.

Earlier in November, State Senator Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) announced her intention to run for this seat. She is a former Houston city controller and Harris County Commissioner who was elected to the District 6 Senate seat in 2013. Javed and a crowded field of candidates – none have ever held public office before – will face her in the March 6 Democratic primary. The other candidates include Marine veteran Augustine Reyes, real estate agent Dominique Michelle Garcia, teacher Hector Morales, businessman Pedro Valencia and attorney Roel Garcia. Four Republicans are running in the GOP’s primary also on March 6: Carmen Maria Montiel, Jaimy Z. Blanco, Phillip Aronoff and Robert Schafranek.

Javed is accustomed to challenges. He is the CEO of Riceland Healthcare based in Beaumont, where he has lived ever since he came to the US in 1989. He and his brother Shawn leveraged their original single convenience store business into a conglomerate of 27 separate companies. Javed is well-known for his advocacy in building bridges across different communities and enterprises, a strategy that has allowed him to rapidly grow Riceland from an idea to an integrated network of physicians, hospital, hospice and home health based out of Winnie, Texas just southwest of Beaumont. He has been an ardent supporter of many philanthropic causes.

Javed has contributed to the campaigns of many candidates and traveled extensively to raise funds for Democrat Hilary Clinton’s 2016 race for President. He is basing his Congressional campaign on opposing President Donald Trump citing his “collusion with Russia, weakness with China, Muslim Ban, Border Wall and treatment of women” as well as poor response to Hurricanes Harvey and Maria.

Javed believes his is prepared to represent the district as his businesses serve underserved communities, like a medical facility being opened in Galena Park.  He says he understand how to provide healthcare with less waste and would fight to bring better access to health care, better schools, roads and employment opportunities.

But his unexpected entry into the race has caught criticism from the perceived front-runner Garcia, 67, who has pointed out that Javed only recently bought a home in the district and had a 9,000 sf homestead till now in Beaumont. She was also critical of a picture of Javed and his wife in a Bentley, which has since been removed from his Facebook page. Even then, though he is not a Latino, Javed believes that as an immigrant, he understands the struggles that others who came to the US like him have had to make and can relate to their needs.