Meet Swati Dandekar, an Indian Woman in Race for US Congress

Swati Dandekar is an Indian Origin Woman in Race for the membership of United States Congress from 1st Congressional District. She is from Democratic Party and is a former Iowa state legislator. She was also a member of the Iowa House of Representatives for the 36th District from 2003 to 2009 and a member of the Iowa Senate for the 18th District from 2009 to 2011.

On July 23, Swati announced that she would be running for US Congress from 1st Congressional District.

Born on March 6, 1951 at Nagpur in Maharashtra, Swati Dandekar received her bachelor’s degree in Biology & Chemistry from Nagpur University and post graduate diploma in dietetics from Bombay University in India. She migrated to United States in 1973.

Swati Dandekar

Swati Dandekar

Swati and her husband Arvind live in Marion, Iowa. Arvind is President/CEO of Fastek International, a software development firm. They have two sons Ajai and Govind who are graduates of Stanford University. Dr. Ajai and his wife Dr. Allison Cole live in Seattle, Washington with their son Evan. Govind works for Google as a Financial Analyst and lives in Palo Alto, California.

Before her election to the Iowa General Assembly, Dandekar was a two-term member of the Linn-Mar Community School District Board from 1996 to 2002. During that time, Governor Tom Vilsack appointed her to the Vision Iowa Board, a post she held from 2000 to 2002.

She began her legislative career in 2002, winning an election to the Iowa House District 36, defeating Republican Karen Balderston. She won re-election twice, against Republican Cory Crowly in 2004 and Republican Nick Wagner in 2006, before running for the Iowa Senate.

In 2008, Dandekar defeated Republican Joe Childers for election to Iowa Senate District 18, and served there until resigning in 2011 to accept Governor Terry Branstad’s appointment to the Iowa Utilities Board for a term expiring in 2015.

“Over the past few months I have been exploring a run for the 1st Congressional District. I have met with voters across the district and have been encouraged by their support for my campaign,” she said.

“Last May I formed an exploratory committee chaired by Senator Wally Horn of Cedar Rapids and Tina Patterson of Marion. With their help, we have made a thorough assessment of the race and I now feel confident that I can win the Democratic nomination next June and the election in November of 2014,” she added.

Her entry in the race brings to five the number of Democrats seeking the 2014 nomination to run for the seat now held by Bruce Braley. Braley is running for the US Senate seat held by Tom Harkin who is retiring.

In past Swati Dandekar has received several awards, including the J. C. Penney Education Golden Rule award, the 2003 Pillar of the Community award from Waypoint, recognition as a 2004 Fleming Institute Fellow and recognition by the Elliott School of International Affairs’ Global Economic Conference. In addition, she has been named Person of the Year three times, once in 2002 by India Abroad, once in 2003 by the Asian Alliance of Iowa, and once in 2008 by AsianWeek.