MADISON, AL (TIP): An India-born businessman is planning to run for the post of mayor of a city in Alabama, saying he has the vision to help make the city among the best in the US, according to a media report.
Hanu Karlapalem, 51 is expected to formally announce his candidacy at an event in Madison, one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities.
Born in Andhra Pradesh, Karlapalem now runs a network solutions business, Vinhamz, in Madison, in Alabama state of southeastern US.
“I bet you cannot find any Indian American in city, state or local offices in the South,” Mr. Karlapalem was quoted as saying in news website AL.com.
“If (the voters) decide I am the right person to lead this city, that would be a historic election, not only in Madison, but in the state of Alabama,” Mr. Karlapalem said.
He said in the news report that he has a better vision for Madison than incumbent Mayor Troy Trulock and would like to see Madison become the number one small city in America.
“This city is one of the most intelligent and best educated cities yet we are not even at the top 10 in the nation,” said Mr. Karlapalem, saying Madison has fallen behind on improving roads, increasing job growth and internal communication.
“We are 10 to 15 years, even 20 years behind,” he said of roads in particular.
Mr. Karlapalem also cited last year’s incident of 57-year-old Indian citizen Sureshbhai Patel in Alabama sustaining severe injuries after he was pinned to the ground by a police office responding to a neighbor’s call about a suspicious pedestrian. “That incident was very tragic, painful and emotional,” said Mr. Karlapalem, who lives a mile and half from the Patel’s home in west Madison, although he said he does not know the Patels.
“But one incident cannot define the department, the City of Madison, nor the state of Alabama. I want to focus on the positive side of Alabama,” said Mr. Karlapalem. “The fact that I am running is proof that Madison, Alabama, is one of the most tolerant, diverse cities,” said Mr. Karlapalem.
Mr. Karlapalem had first considered running for mayor last March and said he has served on an elected board for the University of Alabama in Hunstville alumni, was president of the local Indian association for Huntsville and Madison and has served on the board of the international exchange programs Global Ties Alabama and International Services Council of Alabama.
He said he would use his experience to “promote a culture of diplomacy” and feels he could do a better job communicating with the city council.
Mr. Karlapalem suggested several ideas for Madison, including citizen advisory councils for each city council district, a small business incubator, a board for supporting veterans and a youth council to advise city leaders, the report said.