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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.

Arts & Culture

Bollywood sweethearts Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh tie the knot in Italy

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Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh getting married by Lake Cuomo in Italy. Seen here in there 'Konkani' Wedding Ceremony. Photo: Twitter.com
Bollywood superstars Deepika Padukone & Ranveer Singh tie the knot in Lake Como, Italy

LAKE CUOMO, Italy — Bollywood sweetheart couple, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh have officially tied the knot at a private villa against the scenic Lake Como backdrop, in Italy. The two-day ceremony included a ‘Konkani‘ style ceremony as well as ‘Sindhi‘ ceremony to bring these two Bollywood stars into matrimony.

The couple released two pictures on twitter, with a simple heart emoji

The newlyweds began their love story on screen, sharing intimate moments in films like ‘Ramleela’,’Bajirao Mastani‘ and Padmavat.

According to the Huffington Post, film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali said ‘cut’ during their kiss toward the end, but they continued their sizzling moment as over 50 crew members mesmerizingly watched. It was the start of a blossoming relationship, forging together a Bollywood power couple with chemistry on and off set.

The much awaited wedding ceremony left no stone unturned to celebrate this star couple in grand style with an intensely private and synchronized affair set against at Italy’s scenic Lake Como backdrop, at Villa del Balbianello.

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh getting married by Lake Cuomo in Italy. Seen here in there 'Sindhi' Wedding Ceremony. Photo: Twitter.com

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh getting married by Lake Cuomo in Italy. Seen here in there ‘Sindhi’ Wedding Ceremony. Photo: Twitter.com

An Indian Bollywood wedding without a celeb designer? I think not. The duo opted to go with veteran designer Sabyasachi Mukherji. ‘Sabya‘ as fans often call him, drew inspiration from the wedding ceremony theme and designed decadent outfits in shades of red, pink and all things ‘shaadi‘ for both the ‘Konkani‘ & ‘Sindhi‘ ceremonies. Deepika wore a veil with the words,”Sada Saubhyagyavati Bhava” embroidered along the hem draped over her head. This mantra translates to “be forever fortunate” is often a blessing given to newly weds, wishing them a ‘happily ever after’ life ahead.

Ofcourse no Bollywood wedding is complete without all the ‘Badhaai‘ or well wishes from fellow co-stars, most of who took to twitter to shower the newly minted couple.

A Bollywood wedding, without some ‘filmy’ elements is nearly impossible. According to Filmfare, Singh made his grand entry on Govinda’s hit song ‘Meri Pant Bhi Sexy’, continuing with ‘Chunari Chunari’ and ‘One Two Ka Four‘ as he reached the wedding venue with his family and relatives.

With heavy security for this intensely private ceremony, the couple remained sensitive to the plight of hundreds of fans & paparazzi gathered to capture a glimpse of their special event. They sent gift packs of sweets to the media, thanking them for their wishes.

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Trump celebrates Diwali with diya lighting ceremony in the White House

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White House Diwali Diya Lighting ceremony.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Donald Trump took part in a Diwali celebration Tuesday at the White House where he held a ceremonial lighting of the ‘diya‘. The diya lighting ceremony, Trump used the time to discuss the ties between the U.S. and India which he stated were perhaps closer than ever before. He began by saying how thrilled and special it was to be part of the celebration. Shortly after, Trump gave high praise for the contributions Indian Americans have displayed in the country and in his administration. He began the ceremony by first addressing the victims of fires in California.

He continued to introduce several Indian Americans members of his team and then welcomed Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Navtej Sarna.

With an attendee list of roughly 20 notable Indian Americans within his administration, Trump added onto the growing number during the event as he nominated Neomi Rao to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit.

“We were going to announce that tomorrow and I said, ‘Here we are Neomi — we’re never gonna do better than this’ — I thought it was an appropriate place.”

Rao, born to Indian parents, is a graduate of Yale and University of Chicago Law School. She recently spent time as an associate law professor at George Mason and an administrator in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. She responded by saying: “Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the confidence you’ve shown in me. I greatly appreciate it.”

“Our nation is blessed to be home to millions of hardworking citizens of Indian and southeast Asian heritage, who enrich our country in countless ways. Together we are one proud American family. I’m grateful to have numerous Americans of Indian and southeast Asian heritage who fulfill critical roles across my administration, and they’ve done an incredible job.”

However, President Trump failed to mention the largest group of Indian Americans, the ‘Hindus’, which the twitter sphere was quick to point out.

This is the second year in a row President Trump has hosted a Diwali Celebration in the Oval Office. Here’s Diya TV’s coverage from the year before.

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Complete breakdown of how Indian American candidates fared in midterms 2018

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — With a historical presence in this year’s election among the 100 Indian American representatives, the standout performance came from Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State elected its first Indian American state representative, Nima Kulkarni. The Democrat attorney will represent District 40 after defeating Republican Joshua Neubert by 48.3 points. Kulkarni was a University of Louisville business administration graduate who later founded and managed her own law firm in the area.

Right across the border in Ohio and Illinois, two Indian-Americans were re-elected while one fell short. Ohio Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani remains the youngest current serving member of the House, as well as youngest Indian-American elected official in the country.

“I work hard every day to make it achievable for all Ohioans to have the opportunity to make their American Dream a reality,” the 27-year-old said in a statement following the victory. “Growing up as an Indian-American has greatly influenced my life, and I will continue to proudly represent our community.”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi retained his seat after breezing past fellow Indian American Jitendra “JD” Diganvker in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District.

Aftab Pureval (D-OH) fell short to Republican Steve Chabot in Ohio’s 1st District, 51 percent to 46 percent. Further out east in New York, Indian American Kevin Thomas pulled off an improbable upset over Kemp Hannon for the 6th Senate District, ending his 28-year run as incumbent senator.

The Indian-American incumbents including Krishnamoorthi, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal secured another term. Bera, representing California’s 7th District, was in the tightest race as he edged out Republican Andrew Grant, 52 percent to 48 percent. Next door in Arizona, Democrat Amish Shaw won District 24’s house of representatives race as Anita Malik and Hiral Tiperneni fell to their opponents.

Malik lost to Rep. David Schweikert in the 6th District, 57 percent to 43 percent, while Tiperneni was upended by Republican Debbie Lesko with the same deficit.
On the other hand, Susheela Jayapal, the older sister of Pramila, and Padma Kuppa were two Indian American women who won their respective races at the local and state level. Jayapal won her seat on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in Portland and Kuppa became Michigan’s newest state representative.

“I cannot wait to continue this journey, and make the 41st House District, and the entire State of Michigan a better place for all our families, for generations to come,” Kuppa said in a statement.

Ultimately no Indian Americans managed to claim new seats at the federal level, however many at the local and state level grabbed new seats.Texas meanwhile managed to get an Indian American and Democratic representative as R.K. Sandhill was elected for Place 4 judge of the Texas Supreme Court.

In 2016, five Indian Americans entered Congress, now in the 2018 midterms we see a small increase in representation in the political space with an upward trend heading toward 2020.

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