My parents, Anwhar and Stephanie, moved our family to Clear Lake because of the great public schools. After growing up overseas, university brought them to Texas, and work brought them to Houston. They found exactly what they were looking for in Clear Lake: affordable housing, a welcoming community, and schools that taught their students to dream big.
I grew up in a household that also included my younger brother Philip and my grandmother, Khadija. We lived off Repsdorph and 146, giving me just enough time to get three Tim McGraw songs in on the morning rides to Bay Elementary.
My parents’ investment in Clear Lake would continue to pay off through the years. I got the chance to attend the WAVE program at Webster Intermediate and even earned a rebate check for graduating a year early from Clear Lake High School, which helped me pay for college at UT Austin. I’m incredibly grateful for those opportunities, and want to ensure they’re available to area families and students for the long-term future.
Growing up we were taught the importance of civic engagement. Dad was born in South Africa and his family wasn’t allowed to vote. Every election day he took us along so we could see the beauty of American democracy, and never take it for granted. Generations of Texans built our great state based on a willingness to compromise and focus on what matters most — building for generations to come. Dad made sure we knew that you can disagree with someone and still have a respectful conversation.
COLLEGE AND BEYOND
AT UT, I majored in math and economics. I used my time after classes to put my civic pride into action, and I started working for Rep. Lloyd Doggett answering constituent phone calls. I learned it is the sworn duty of an elected leader to stay connected with the community by actively responding to their real, everyday problems, and I know District 129 deserves a good listener.
The University of Texas didn’t just give me a great education, it was the place where I met my life partner and greatest supporter—my wife, Bijal. We met at a stop light party —both wearing green of course.
When the economy crashed in 2009, I weathered the storm at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. I continued to serve by interning in the mail room and responding to emails at the White House, graduating in 2012 with masters degrees in both public policy and economics.
On the family front, Dad became very sick that year. Our family had the good fortune of living near the largest medical center in the country (and having insurance), so he received excellent care. Unfortunately, he passed away and left my family forever changed.
In the fall of 2012, my first job was at Morgan Stanley. I worked in the municipal bond group, learning how property taxes, gas taxes, and airline fees help build our schools, highways, and airports. After a few years, I left and moved to California.
Starting in 2014, I worked as a research analyst for Uber crafting reports on how technology could improve transportation and the economy in communities across the nation. A year and a half ago, I was asked to come back to Texas where I worked with the state legislature to pass statewide regulations for ridesharing. Remembering Dad’s advice about respectful communication, I successfully worked with both parties to pass the legislation with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate.