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Exclusive: One on One with Rep. Ro Khanna at Impact Summit 2018

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Rep. Ro Khanna

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Earlier this year, 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 California Representative Ro Khanna for our public affairs program “The Public Interest,” edited for clarity.

Q: You’re a veteran now running for office. Tell me what it’s been like. This is a fairly new dichotomy for a lot of Democrats, who had eight years of Obama. What is it like to be in Congress right now during this Trump administration?.

A: It’s a tough time. Obviously, the administration is doing a lot of things that I disagree with, on immigration, tearing apart families, restricting people from becoming green card holders, not doing enough on jobs, not doing enough about visions of science and education. But I try to put forward ideas that how we can bring new innovation, new entrepreneurship, not just in my district but around the country and trying to offer new ideas, which at least has gotten a hearing.

Q: Take us through what you plan to tackle in 2018, knowing full well that we’ve got elections coming up in the fall as people are ramping up for 2020.

A: Well, I’ve been asked to lead on the Internet Bill of Rights, so I am working on some principles that will protect your data and privacy online. I think that’s really important with the Congress Act, and given the district I represent, that’s an area that I’m going to work on to put forward the framework. I’ve been working on a jobs bill: how do we subsidized employment and training for people who are out of work and particularly communities left behind? I have a plan to have 1,000 tech institutes across America to help give people the skills they’re going to need for a new economy. So those are some of my initiatives.

Q: We have a lot of elected officials and a lot of upstarts [at the Impact Summit], folks like yourself a few years ago who wanted to be in office at the state level, at the federal level. What are you telling people now that you have been in the game awhile – a lot of folks coming up to you saying, ‘hey, how do I get to where you are?’ What are you telling them?

A: Well, I say to them, ‘I lost a lot of times. Twice. Just don’t be afraid to run, and be persistent and be out there. Take risks, follow your own heart, don’t listen to conventional opinion and it’s a great country to ultimately make it if you persist.’

Q: Finally, for those of us in the Silicon Valley that watch this program, we’re very fortunate the economy is doing very well. But a couple things are of real concern — traffic and housing.

A: You can’t afford to live there. It’s a million buck home — maybe not when your parents came there, but now it’s totally different. And now, it has priced out the teachers, the nurses. I had a teacher in tears when I was just back home. She went to Stanford. Her husband’s a Stanford person. They teach. They’re moving out of the area because they can’t afford to live there. We’re losing talent. We’re losing nurses, teachers, firefighters. We got to build more affordable housing. We’ve got to build it near jobs. Housing and being stuck on 237 or 880 or 101 are the biggest things I hear about when I go back home.

Q: But is there a will to do that? Is there a will to change the way we do things in terms of development?

A: I think there is. I think you have people like Raj Salwan [Fremont Councilmember], and Mountain View’s mayor [Leonard Siegel] and others like Lily Mei [Fremont Mayor] thinking about how can we address this issue — Lisa Gillmor in Santa Clara. So the mayors get it. There’s got to be a real effort to build affordable housing near jobs.

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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EXCLUSIVE: Fremont PD and FOG confirm Independence Day Parade cancelled over security, permitting

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FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV) — Fremont Police Department and FOG organizers confirm the annual Indian Independence Day parade, scheduled for this Sunday, is cancelled due to permitting and security concerns. FOG will still take place this weekend, minus the parade. Here’s our initial report on FOG security from earlier this week.

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Rep. Suozzi apologizes over Kashmir letter to Pompeo

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Kashmir apology

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi represents New York’s 3rd Congressional District, a diverse region with a large contingent of Pakistani and Indian Americans. After meeting with a group of Pakistani constituents upset about India’s change in approach towards Kashmir, he wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prioritize Kashmir. 

Now he’s backtracked from those remarks, issuing a new statement to apologize after meeting with Indian American constituents, saying he should have “framed [his] concerns differently.”

A Pakistani-American audience member at BeautyCon got the attention she was seeking for Kashmir when she publicly accused Indian actress Priyanka Chopra during a question and answer session of “encouraging nuclear war against Pakistan.” Ayesha Malik says she did not intend to challenge Chopra at the event, but wanted know why Priyanka tweeted ‘Jai Hind’ after tensions flared up in Kashmir when terrorists from Pakistan killed 40 Indian soldiers. Chopra, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, dismissed Malik’s accusation, but is being criticized for being hypocritical and the tone and manner of the denial.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Gandhi celebrations take place in Atlanta, Bay Area

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Gandhi celebrations

ATLANTA (Diya TV) — The Indian Consulate in Atlanta, along with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the many celebrations that will mark his 150th birth anniversary this year. 

In the Bay Area, a full day symposium on Gandhi was put together, highlighted by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers along with Cesar Chavez.

Sonia Gandhi is back to lead the Congress Party as interim president, almost two years after she resigned. Her son Rahul resigned as party president recently after Prime Minister Modi was re-elected decisively. 

The federal budget deficit grew to $868 billion in the first 10 months of the new fiscal year. Not only is that a 27% increase from the same period one year ago, it’s the largest deficit since 2012. The annual deficit is expected to hit $1 trillion annually in 2022.

And while the debate over Kashmir rages on, Discovery in India premiered an Indian wilderness special featuring Prime Minister Modi. While the goal was to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change, critics remark Modi’s environmental record is leaves much to be desired.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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