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 Tribune, Daily 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.”