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Exclusive: Rep. Ami Bera on protecting Indian Americans who have legally immigrated

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Rep. Ami Bera

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — More than 200 Indian American candidates, elected officials, among those gathered including California Rep. Ami Bera in Washington DC for the inaugural Impact Summit, an effort to build a long-term political network for the diaspora. All five Indian American members of Congress spoke at this event that was sponsored in part by Diya TV. Below is a transcript of an interview conducted on site by Ravi Kapur with Democratic California Representative Ami Bera for our public affairs program “The Public Interest,” edited for clarity.

Q: You are the senior member of the so-called ‘Samosa Caucus,’ as dubbed by your colleague Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, now that you have been elected three times to Congress, not to mention your recent primary victory. Thus, we’ve seen first-hand scores of political aspirants asking you for advice of how to get involved politically. What are you telling them?

A: My obligation is to help people that are coming into the United States. Our legacy is not what we do by ourselves but by those folks that help. I learned a lot running, and the first step is not to be afraid to put yourself out there, put your name on that ballot, and what we are talking about today is how this broader Indian American community can support candidates. That’s what impact is all about. And you’ve got great candidates that are running all across this country. I think over 60 running for federal office but also at state and local levels. So, it’s pretty remarkable. And if we want to have a seat at the table, if we want to talk about issues that are important to our community, you have to have that representation.

Q: When you first were in Congress, you had a Democratic administration, Barack Obama was President. Now President Trump has a different philosophy, I imagine, from the way you like to govern. What has it been like these past couple of years under the Trump Administration? What has your life been life, day to day?

A: Yeah, it’s been busier than ever, Representing my constituents for the Sacramento Community but also trying to help my Indian American community. I will tell you that we’re fighting them on some of these immigration measures. Let’s take DACA for an example. We’re all going to fight for the dreamers, but we also understand that there are a lot of Indian American kids that are going to be 19 and who are here with parents who came here legally. Those folks are also potentially going to get kicked out of the United States. We have to fight for them as well, and that’s why it is important to have representation at the table.

Q: We just had a primary election in the state of California, and to be honest, the turnout was pathetic, under 25%, something like 21%. Now, it’s tough to have a primary election in the middle of the summer- school’s out, people are having fun. I did vote. I think you probably voted too. (Ami Bera: I did). But, what, if anything, can we do to get more people to vote, not just the Indian American community, but overall. The voter turnout was really sad.

A: Well, so, democracy, your vote is your voice. And if you don’t vote, you lose your voice. I think we have to focus on 2018. So you want representation, and that first happens by casting your ballot. Now, in our district, we’ve historically been able to turn votes out. I think, our turnout will end up being around 50%, which is again pretty remarkable compared to where it was in southern California and in other places. And again a lot of that is just telling people to vote. I’ve been able to get elected and re-elected. We’ve never won on an election, but I think it is about voters getting out there and casting their ballot.

Watch all of the interviews from the Impact Summit on The Public Interest with Ravi Kapur, Sunday at 9 am & 5 pm local time, exclusively on Diya TV.

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Rishi Sunak joins PM race to replace Boris Johnson in U.K.

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LONDON (Diya TV) — British Indian Politician Rishi Sunak has officially joined the race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. If Sunak is elected, he would become the UK’s first Asian Prime Minister. 

Sunak, 42, started his career as a politician in 2015 as he became a member of Parliament after working for Goldman Sachs and 2 hedge funds up to that point. He officially became chancellor in February 2020. While serving the chancellor position, his response to the COVID-19 pandemic has received acclaim as he launched multiple emergency spending programs to combat the economic downfall while Britain was on lockdown. 

Sunak resigned from the Chancellor position recently due to the conflict between him and Johnson. Shortly after, he jumpstarted his campaign to be Britain’s Prime Minister and supplant Johnson. While has gotten support from Conservative lawmakers, his reputation did take a hit this year. 

During the pandemic, Sunak was caught and fined for breaking Britain’s lockdown rules which did not sit well with citizens. This could make a difference when it comes to voting for the new leader of the country. However, the general consensus is that Sunak should garner a lot of support from lawmakers and citizens alike as he looks to make history.

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Shinzo Abe dies after being shot at campaign speech in Nara

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Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has passed away at the age of 67 after being shot in an assassination attempt during a campaign speech in the city of Nara. The assassination took place at approximately 11:30 Japan Standard Time on July 8. Abe was reported to be in a state of “cardiopulmonary arrest” after the gunfire and he passed away due to his injuries. 

Abe was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and throughout his time in office, he strived to improve the Japan-India relationship and he handily achieved this goal through improved security cooperation. Japan was also able to connect with and form bilateral links with the United States, Australia and India under his control. Abe’s initiative to make these strategic links ultimately deepened the respective relationships between the foreign countries for the long term. 

On the day he was fatally shot, Abe was making a speech on the behalf of a Democratic Party candidate as the upper house elections were quickly approaching. Abe was shot from behind him up to 3 times and he collapsed on the spot. He was transported to the local hospital but showed no vital signs. Thereafter, Abe passed away.

The shooter has been taken into custody, being caught in the act, and has been identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, a 41-year-old local of Nara. US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel released a statement on the shooting, stating the United States was “saddened and shocked.”

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Sharks make Mike Grier the first Black GM in NHL history

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SAN JOSE (Diya TV) — There is a changing of the guard in San Jose and one that has made NHL history.

The San Jose Sharks have formally announced Mike Grier as their new General Manager, making the 14-year NHL veteran the first African-American to hold such a position over the NHL’s lengthy history. After the resignation of former GM Doug Wilson and the relieving of previous head coach Bob Boughner and his coaching staff, wholesale changes were bound to happen. The franchise, still without a Stanley Cup, hopes to move in a new direction and regain the success they once had.

Grier is part of a family of sports executives as his father, Bobby, has worked as a director of scouting and player personnel with the NFL’s New England Patriots while his brother, Chris, is currently the GM of the Miami Dolphins. The new Sharks GM will follow in his family’s footsteps after playing professional hockey for more than a decade. 

As a member of the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks, Grier played a total of 1060 games across 14 years. After retiring in 2011, he sought out coaching roles with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, before ultimately getting the monumental callback from the San Jose Sharks which would change NHL history. 

One of the primary tasks for Grier as a GM will be finding a new head coach for a franchise in search of stability on the bench. From there, the rebuild will be strenuous with many current Sharks players getting older with the need to infuse younger talent. The Sharks will be picking at 11th overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, affording Grier the opportunity to select a potential franchise cornerstone.

After being sunk in no man’s land, the Sharks decided to make a large-scale change to create a new identity and reach the goal of lifting Lord Stanley for the first time.

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