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The Hindu ceremony of the wedding of Scott Padavan — the son of New York State Senator Frank Padavan — with India-born Pratisha Budhiraja in Providence, Rhode Island, on July 3, 1999. The bride’s mother Rita Budhiraja is at left, and father Ashwani Budhiraja is second from left. At far right is the purohit.

NYS State Senator Padavan’s S. Asian connection
By JYOTIRMOY DATTA

When South Asians of Northeast Queens go to the office of State Senator Frank Padavan in Bellerose with problems concerning immigration, education or housing, they find the Senator greatly helpful and understanding. Few of his visitors, however, can guess that he has a South Asian connection in his family.

Padavan’s district, the 11th of New York State Senate, is among the most diverse in the Big Apple. Formerly home to mostly the Irish, the Jewish and Italians, it now has one of the largest concentrations of South Asians in the city. A resident of the district since childhood, Padavan has seen it changing.

As newcomers move in, this part of Queens from Bayside to Whitestone has acquired new temples, mosques and stores selling specialties from the subcontinent. But, it remains as quiet and green as in the old times.

The Senator’s son, Scott, is an MD. He is married to an India-born woman, Pratisha, who has a master’s in public health and another in microbiology.

They live and work in Hawaii, from where Pratisha told News India-Times on the phone that the two had met at Brown University when she was 21 and he 22. That was 12 years ago. They dated each other for nine years, before they tied the knot in Providence, Rhode Island, on July 3, 1999. Pratisha’s maiden name is Budhiraja. Her father, Ashwani, is from Punjab. Her mother, Rita, is a Bengali whose family was domiciled in Bihar. Pratisha herself is fluent in Bengali.

Scott is an ER doctor and Pratisha works with a women, infant and children’s program in Hawaii, where the weather is wonderful, “somewhat like India,” said Pratisha.

Sen. Padavan, as chairman of the Senate Cities Committee, is a principal architect of New York City legislation. He has also been a leader in the battle against crime, drugs and alcohol abuse, and, is a pioneer in welfare cost containment.

The Senator has a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a master’s in business administration. Before his election to the Senate, Padavan was employed by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and served four years as deputy commissioner (operations) of the New York City Department of Buildings. Attaining the rank of Colonel, Padavan had a 30-year active and reserve career in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, including service as commanding officer of the 411th Engineer Brigade and chief of staff, 77th ARCOM.
(Gloria Suhasini also contributed to this report)

 

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