WASHINGTON, DC: Shajan Kuriakose, a financial consultant with Indian roots, has will challenge incumbent Alderman Debra Silverstein for the 50th Ward seat in Chicago.
In an interview with DNAinfo Chicago, the 36-year-old stated his goal was to help small business flourish while “showcasing” the ward’s distinct ethnic communities.
“For a business community that’s been over here for well over 30 years, they’re not seeing the type of growth” that some Indian communities are experiencing elsewhere, like in Jackson Heights in New York, he said.
Kuriakose, who is endorsed by the Chicago Tribune, is running on a platform supported by five pillars: economic development, service to constituents, education, safety, and “50th Ward first.” In order to fortify the five civic areas as outlined on his website, Kuriakose intends to have his office survey his ward for potholes and graffiti on a regular basis, pursue educational grants, and increase the ward’s police presence.
Kuriakose’s parents immigrated to the United States from India in the 1970s. After graduating from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, he became a small business owner, and from there launched several investment ventures before eventually becoming a consultant for the banking industry.
When he isn’t professionally consulting, Kuriakose serves on the Board of Directors for the Indo-American Democratic Organization, a group of leaders committed to engaging South Asians in the political process. He also volunteers for Bombay Teen Challenge, a group in India that helps rescue women and children from human trafficking.