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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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Indian American news anchor Uma Pemmaraju passes away at 64

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Groundbreaking Indian American news anchor and journalist Uma Pemmaraju has passed away at the age of 64. She was one of the original members on air at FOX News when the network first launched. She also spent time at Bloomberg covering business. Pemmaraju was a familiar face in local news markets like Boston where she anchored one of the highest rated news shows and won several Emmy awards. Her cause of death is not being reported at this time.

In New York, author Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage as he prepared to give a lecture at Chautauqua Institution. Witnesses say his attacker began punching or stabbing Rushdie. His condition is unknown at this time. The 75 year old’s book, “The Satanic Verses” has been banned in Iran since 1988 as many Muslims consider it blasphemous. Iran has put a 3 million dollar bounty on his head.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the nation should move away from restrictive measures such as quarantines and social distancing and focus on reducing severe disease from Covid-19. The agency no longer recommends staying at least 6 feet away from other people to reduce the risk of exposure — a shift from guidance that had been in place since the early days of the pandemic.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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US and India to hold military drills near the China-India border

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WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — The U.S. and India are preparing for mountain top drills near the Chinese border. It’s a move that’s sure to attract the attention of leaders in Beijing and comes during heightened tension between all the countries, especially after China recently launched missiles over Taiwan in a show of force. Last year’s joint high altitude exercise between the U.S. and India was in Alaska.

A top Pakistani militant who had a $3 million U.S. bounty on his head has been killed along with three others in Afghanistan. Abdul Wali, also known as Omar Khalid Khurasani, was killed in an explosion Sunday while traveling by car.

Diya TV was this year’s media sponsor at the Indiana India Business Council annual gala. This non-profit remains focused on generating economic growth, and strengthening ties between both countries. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Afghan man arrested over murders of four South Asian men in New Mexic

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Diya TV) — The Islamic community is breathing a sigh of relief after one of their own is now under arrest for the murders of four Muslim men. 51 year old Mohamed Syed is denying any involvement in the slayings and will face a judge later this week. Three of the victims are from Pakistan while the other is from Afghanistan. Authorities say Syed knew all the men but the exact motive is unclear at this time. Some outlets are reporting this could be fueled over issues in the Sunni and Shia Muslim community. 

Global outrage continues after the suicide of 30 year old Mandeep Kaur, who left India for New York, searching for a better life. Police say she ended her life after releasing a heart wrenching video, narrating details of torture at the hands of her husband who she claims abused her because she couldn’t have a son. Kaur leaves behind two young daughters. Her family in Indian is now trying to take custody of the children. 

Women’s tennis champ Serena Williams says she is preparing to wind down her stellar career. She has 23 grand slam championships. Williams implied she’s trying to play at the US Open and make it her final tournament later this month.  

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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