Padma Kuppa: ‘Glocal’ Goals
A recent entrant into the political arena, Padma Kuppa started off as a community activist working towards social justice and understanding.
A Democratic member of the Michigan House of Representatives, Padma Kuppa represents District 41, and was elected to the office on November 6, 2018.
In early 2017, when Kuppa, a Hindu American and community activist working for social justice and understanding, saw education and other values being neglected at the national level, she decided to tackle the problems at the grass-root-level. “Everyone loses when we don’t educate children, I decided to do something at the local level, because that is where I could have the most impact. After all, all politics is local. And the State legislature is where the most impactful decisions are made about educating children,” she explains.
Good judge of civil rights
Born in India to immigrant parents, she attended public schools in the US but moved back to Hyderabad after class 10 to pursue MPC in Intermediate and a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from REC Warangal before returning to the US for graduate school.
Kuppa says she always thought she would only work for the idea of pluralism and build relationships — but destiny had something else planned for her. She is presently serving her first term representing Michigan’s 41st House District, which encompasses the cities of Troy and Clawson.
“9/11 had an impact on people who were different — we were not always included or made to feel like we belonged as Indian Americans. I got involved in many community groups and even started the Troy-area Interfaith Group with a few friends. This organisation now creates opportunities for people of different religious backgrounds to serve together, to develop understanding and allows all people to be included,” she explains.
“Because we are in the minority, I discovered that I am given less money to support work for constituents in our district than a State representative from the majority party. One of the reasons I resisted running for elected office was that I didn’t like the tone or tenor of the political arena. In fact, when I first started thinking about running for State Representative, I discussed it with my family and close friends to make sure I had the support I would need to weather any ugly attacks. I also said I would keep my campaign positive and we focused on what I would do to resolve issues in the district and at the State level,” says Kuppa.
She adds, “I had never run for office before, but I took some training and talked to others who have run or been involved in campaigns before and received good guidance.”