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Exclusive: One on One with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi at Impact Summit 2018

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Diya TV's Ravi Kapur interviews Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi at the Indian American Impact Summit 2018.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Earlier this month, more than 200 Indian American candidates, elected officials, among others gathered in Washington 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 Illinois Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi for our public affairs program “The Public Interest,” edited for clarity.

Q: 2018 is a midterm election year. What is it like being on the ground here in Washington right now?

A: It’s a little bit of a circus. Our president does things a little differently than past presidents. And in my humble opinion, I think that what’s happened is there a lot of people who are very concerned and in some cases, alarmed, about what’s going on with regard to various issues, economic issues. There could be rights issues and so forth. And I don’t think that’s a good thing. I don’t think we function well in a democracy when we’re at each other’s throats. And we’re not really in a deliberative process. I hope that changes.

Q: We had a primary process in my home state of California and yours in Illinois. The turnouts have been pretty poor. Folks weren’t inspired to vote in the primaries. Do you expect a real significant turnout who people are clearly really turned off about what’s going on here?

A: I think that some people are energized. For instance, Democratic women are energized to come out because of what they’ve seen with regard to this administrations treatment of issues of importance to women, reproductive rights, equal pay and so forth. I think that it’s possible that people on the other side might also be energized to defend their president. I think we, as Democrats — I happen to be a Democrat — I think we can’t take anything for granted. I mean, people talk about a blue wave, but to me, until November 6 rolls around, we can’t sit still. We can’t be complacent whatsoever. We have to run all the way through the finish line and through the tape, so to speak.

Q: We’re here at the Indian Impact Summit and there’s a cluster of folks that want to be in your position one day, who want to run for office at the state level and at the federal level. What are you saying to this next flock of people who want to get through the fray?

A: I basically say, ‘Look, there is this old adage. If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu.’ And we as Indian Americans or South Asian Americans cannot afford to be on the menu. The stakes could not be higher. So now is the time to get involved. First, you’ve got to make sure everyone votes. Secondly, volunteer for a political cause that’s bigger than yourself. And then third, if you have demonstrated a record of public service and public service is part of your future — and you’re ready — then you should consider running for office. It’s a big, big step, but more and more people have to do it at all levels of government, whether it’s State House or State Senate. Maybe some of your viewers might even run for the U.S. Congress, but please not in my Congressional district. But anywhere else I’d be delighted to guide people. But the point is that people have to get involved.”

Q: Final question for you – what else is on the agenda here for 2018? What are you trying to get done?

A: For me personally, I have to get certain pieces of legislation through the Congress. My particular passion is in the area of workforce development. It’s meeting the skills gap and basically providing people with career technical education. There are 6.7 million unfilled jobs in the economy because employers can’t locate the skills or experience necessary to fill them. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Americans do not have a four-year college degree and those numbers aren’t changing anytime soon. So the challenge is to equip these people with the skills to take these jobs. And if we can do that, then we will jumpstart our economy to new heights we haven’t seen before. And that is my legislation in this House that’s working on this particular challenge. It’s passed the House. It’s in the Senate, hoping to get it through. HR 2353 for people who are keeping score at home — The Thompson-Krishnamoorthi bill. It’s a modernized Perkins career technical education. It’s the longest titled bill in Congress!

Q: And bipartisan?

A: Yes, bipartisan. The Thompson is Republican Glenn Thompson and of course, there’s me.

Q: Do you think you’ll get over the hump?

A: I think we’re getting closer, definitely.

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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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on diversifying TV station ownership

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) —    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he’s aware the incentive auction nearly wiped out TV stations owned by women & minorities. How he’s addressing the issue, plus the on-going battle over net neutrality, robocalls & his evolution from staffer to Commissioner to Chair on an all-new The Public Interest with Ravi Kapur, Sunday at 9 am & 5pm exclusively on DiyaTV!

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Elon Musk says Tesla plans to be in India by 2020

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —   India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, just helped his brother Anil out of a major jam, despite their past differences. Anil’s Reliance Communications owed $77 million to Ericsson and he faced jail for non-payment. But in a statement, the company announced the debt was addressed, implying older brother Mukesh had taken care of the bill.

India’s second-richest man, Azim Premji, is making news of own by giving billions to charity in what is thought to be largest donation ever seen in India.

The tech tycoon has now allocated a total of $21 billion to the Azim Premji Foundation.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted he wants to bring their electric cars to India this year or by 2020. He has blamed tough policies for delaying the carmaker’s entry into India in the past. India is the world’s fourth largest automobile market.

Adding to the pacts they’ve struck over the last three years, India and the United States are close to finalizing a new deal to deepen defense industry collaboration.

And representatives from six social media platforms met with Indian election officials, holding discussions on ways to tackle fake news and authenticate political ads in advance of elections there next month.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announces 2020 Presidential run

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —   Days after two mosques in New Zealand were targeted in racially motivated shooting, New Zealand’s prime minister vowed to change gun laws within one week. 50 people died and 50 were wounded in the livestreamed attack by a 28-year-old Australian man, and self-proclaimed racist, who is being held on murder charges.

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand officially announced her campaign for the White House, making the rounds in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, the other Democratic presidential hopefuls made their way around the nation to meet with voters.

Iowa played host to Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke and Amy Klobuchar

Bernie Sanders hit the trail in Nevada.

And Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard made the rounds in the Bay Area.

Instagram comedian Jess Hilarious caused a furor online after posting a set of racially-insensitive videos saying four Sikhs on her flight made her feel “threatened.”

Those Sikh passengers were removed from the aircraft for reasons that are still unknown.

And Vancouver businessman David Sidoo pleaded not guilty to felony fraud charges in a U.S. federal court for allegedly paying $200,000 to have someone help his sons pass the SAT, one of whom attended U.C. Berkeley. He was released on $1.5 million bond.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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