Chintan Desai, a first-generation citizen of immigrant parents, has announced his candidacy as a Democrat for Arkansas’ First Congressional District.

The district encompasses Chicot, Desha and Lincoln counties in Southeast Arkansas, as well as Arkansas, Baxter, Clay, Cleburne, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Fulton, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Lee, Lonoke, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, Prairie, Randolph, Saint Francis, Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Woodruff and part of Jefferson county.

Desai’s campaign will aim to bring Democrats, independent, and unaffiliated voters together to win back a seat that has been held by U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford since 2010, according to a news release announcing Desai’s candidacy.

He plans to focus his campaign on proposing concrete solutions for eliminating poverty in Eastern Arkansas in the next 30 years.

“Now more than ever Washington needs new faces and new energy to shake up Capitol Hill,” said Kevin Smith, a former Arkansas State Senator. “It will take a new generation of leadership to break the stranglehold of those special interests who have all but destroyed middle income families. That is why my wife Sissy and I enthusiastically support and endorse Chintan Desai for Congress in the First District. We have both witnessed Chintan provide transformative leadership in our community and have no doubt he will do the same in Washington.”

Desai was born and raised in California and studied Political Science at the University of California, Davis. After graduating, he joined Teach For America and moved to Helena, Arkansas to teach fifth grade social studies at the successful KIPP Delta schools. He has since held administrative positions at both Teach For America Arkansas and KIPP Delta Public Schools. In 2015, he helped open the Hunt Education Center, a multi-purpose community center, in the heart of Helena’s historic downtown. Desai serves on several local boards, including the Delta Cultural Center Advisory Board, the Boys and Girls of Phillips County, and Teach For America Arkansas’ alumni of color organization.
For more about Chintan Desai visit his campaign website at