EULESS, Texas — When voters chose their representatives to the Texas House last November, they made history by sending a few “firsts” to the state Legislature.
Rep. Salman Bhojani is among them.
The Democrat from Euless is one of the first two Muslim members of the Texas House, along with Rep. Suleman Lalani, a Democrat from Sugar Land.
Since Rep. Bhojani is a member of the minority party in Austin, his legislative priorities may have to take a back seat for a while. So, he tells us he’ll measure success by the relationships he forms, particularly those across the aisle.
“That’s how I did in Euless City Council when I was elected as Mayor Pro Tem by mostly Republican City Council members,” Rep. Bhojani said on Inside Texas Politics. “And I’ll continue building on relationships so that way I can work on kitchen table issues that Texans care about.”
And that experience of having already been a “first” will only help the Democrat.
In 2018, he also made history when he became the first person of color to hold elected office in the Fort Worth suburb of Euless.
Now, he’s also the first Muslim and the first South Asian ever elected to the Texas Legislature.
And the Democrat says he plans to represent Texans, not just a political party. So, he says he’ll reach out to Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike.
“By the way, the first constituent that I had yesterday was a Republican and I really enjoyed meeting them. So, I look forward to having more,” said the Representative.
It hasn’t always been an easy journey and Rep. Bhojani says he has faced bigotry and hatred.
But that also gives him strength, he says, and helps him give folks a certain amount of grace, which he thinks will serve him well as a lawmaker and as a leader for future generations of Muslim politicians.
“As I’ve worked on the campaign, people have told me a lot of negative things and Islamophobic things, about me going back to my country, or that Muslims are terrorists, and just really mean things,” Rep. Bhojani told us. “But because they may be ignorant, they may not know about the faith, they may not know that Muslims can be contributing citizens of the United States.”
Rep. Bhojani is also our guest on this week’s episode of Y’all-itics. If you’d like to learn more about his origin story and how it led to him becoming one of the first two Muslim members of the Texas House in state history, click here.