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History in the making for Indian-American Congressional candidates

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Indian-American community is set to make history in the congressional election’s of next month’s general election, with Nov. 8 just weeks away, several of the community’s candidates are seemingly heading towards victory.

Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA) is currently the only Indian-American serving in Congress, and only the third ever to do so in the legislative branch’s long history. But three others could soon join him, bringing the total to four if Rep. Bera prevails in his own reelection battle. Bera notes, “Although it has been a real honor to serve as sole Indian-American in the House of Representatives, I am looking forward to having more members of the community join me in Congress in the upcoming term.”

Here’s a look at the Indian-American candidates that could be propelled to elected office come November:

Ro Khanna (CA-17)

In California, the 40-year-old technology lawyer from Fremont continues his relentless bid to replace incumbent Democrat Mike Honda. The district is commonly referred to as the “heart of Silicon Valley,” and includes some of the world’s leading technology companies in its jurisdiction, including Apple Inc, Intel Corp., Yahoo! and eBay.

Khanna, the son of Indian immigrants, is hoping he’ll be elected to the district which also represents the largest Indian-American population in the U.S. He carries with him a record in both the public and private sectors over the past several years. Most recently, he served as a senior official at the Department of Commerce where he was responsible for promoting American exports abroad.

He has focused his Congressional campaign on convincing voters why he is the better-equipped candidate to represent the innovation capital of the world. Khanna’s campaign has touched a nerve in Silicon Valley and he has assembled a coalition of support around a progressive economic platform.  He has earned praise from across the political spectrum for being a pro-economic growth candidate who understands how to help the middle class.

Further, Khanna has attracted the support of leading tech and business giants across Silicon Valley and across the nation who have seized on his new ideas for creating advanced manufacturing jobs and supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. An author who literally wrote the book on the subject, Khanna understands what it will take to create the jobs of the 21st century while understanding what skills will be necessary to excel at those jobs.

In the two years since his last contest with Honda, however, Khanna has picked up scores of new endorsements from local officials, party leaders and organizations, including leading labor unions. These include local chapters of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, the United Association of the Plumbers and Steamfitters, the California Nurses Association and the AFL-CIO.

Khanna additionally garnered the endorsement of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who said that Khanna “has the type of idealism, energy and deep commitment to public service that we desperately need in Congress. He will be a future leader for our party and country.”

Pramila Jayapal (WA-7)

Washington state senator Pramila Jayapal is on the cusp of making history by becoming the first Indian-American woman to be elected to Congress. The former immigrant-rights activist has run a groundbreaking campaign focused on progressive values that have captured national attention while resonating with the district’s diverse electorate. Jayapal will replace longtime Seattle congressman Jim McDermott in the House of Representatives.

Her time as a state senator witnessed her sponsor legislation to raise the minimum wage, introduce a bill for free community college and advance voting rights. Even in a chamber controlled by Republicans where she served in the minority, she was able to work across the aisle and pass important legislation to invest millions of dollars into pre-apprenticeship programs for women and people of color to get good jobs in the transportation sector, increase access to contraceptives for low-income women on Medicaid, make Washington state the first state that will test our untested rape kits and increase access to higher education and small business development assistance in her district.

Just before her August primary, then-Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders declared, “When you think of the political revolution, I want you to think about Pramila.”

Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8)

Attorney and entrepreneur Raja Krishnamoorthi is seeking to represent Illinois’s 8th Congressional district for a seat being vacated by Representative Tammy Duckworth.

Campaigning on his long track record of business and government experience, Krishnamoorthi has spent more than a year campaigning on a message focused on strengthening middle class families, creating jobs, making affordable college or vocational training within reach of every American family, guaranteeing paid sick leave and maternity leave for workers and protecting the Social Security and Medicare benefits.

He garnered nearly 60% of the vote in the March 2016 Democratic primary, triumphing over two other contenders. In the weeks preceding the primary election, Krishnamoorthi ran an exceptionally strong campaign, knocking on thousands of doors, raising an impressive campaign war chest and earning the endorsements of scores of local and national leaders, labor unions, professional organizations and all of Chicago’s major newspapers, including the Chicago TribuneDaily Herald and Chicago Sun-Times.

“These endorsements matter because they are important validators for voters looking to make the right choice for who should represent them. These grassroots supporters are the individuals and organizations who truly power my campaign,” he said in response.

But he is not taking anything for granted. He continues to garner endorsements, knock on doors and raise funds.

“I have knocked on more than 2,500 doors throughout my district, and I like to joke that in the process I have met more than 2,500 dogs and cats,” Krishnamoorthi said. “But in all seriousness, what voters are asking me when we talk on their front porches is whether they will be able to keep their job in the midst of downsizing and a changing economy. Can I afford to send my child to college? Will Social Security be there for my retirement? The whole purpose of my campaign is to stand up for the middle class and make sure that the opportunities provided to me to be able to pursue the American Dream will remain for everyone willing to work hard and play by the rules.”

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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