Indians in seats of power in the US

Indian Americans make history

Business & Politics

November 9, 2016

/ By / New Delhi

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Indian Americans are breaking barriers by winning hands down in their political races. Kamala Harris creates history by winning the US Senate seat; Raja Krishnamoorthi wins Congressional election.

California Attorney Kamala Harris made history on Tuesday by becoming the first Indian American elected to the US Senate. Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez in the election for California’s open seat in the Senate.

Harris will replace outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer, who announced her retirement in 2014 after serving for more than two decades. Harris had established ground for her candidacy shortly after Boxer’s announcement, thus developing a strong lead in the contest.

While there have been Indian Americans elected to the House of Representatives, none have been elected to the Senate before. Harris is not only the first Indian American to make this history but also the first South-Asian-American to serve in the senate.

On the other hand, Indian American businessman Raja Krishnamoorthi became the first Indian American elected to Congress this election cycle, winning from Illinois.

The election of both comes as a lead to others from the sector trying to increase their presence in Congress.

“I like to joke that I want to increase the number by 100 pc,” Krishnamoorthi was quoted referring to doubling the number of Indian Americans in Congress from one.

New Delhi-born Krishnamoorthi contested for the District of Illinois which includes Chicago’s west and north-west suburbs. He ran for the house on grounds of protecting social security and medical benefits, making higher education more affordable, and empowering small businesses.

Krishnamoorthi’s district has a considerable Indian American population and he told Indian media last month that in an interaction with him, the community showed “they are very concerned about the rhetoric coming from people like Donald Trump who has basically poisoned the political dialogue in this country with his insults to immigrants, people with disabilities, women, other minorities and veterans.”

“People more than ever are yearning for unity in the face of the collective challenges confronting the country. Indian Americans feel that call to action and call to unity even more keenly,” Krishnamoorthi added.

Krishnamoorthi bagged the seat in his second attempt. His first attempt was in 2012.

Krishnamoorthi earlier worked as a low level policy researcher on Obama’s 2000 campaign for the US house.

In his campaign he advocated policies to help working families, including equal pay for equal work, paid sick and maternity leave, raising the federal minimum wage, and making college more affordable. He also defended and campaigned for women’s reproductive freedom.

He was also supported and endorsed by Obama in a video wherein he urged voters to support his “good friend” who helped him “develop ideas for building an economy that works for everyone”.

Now president of two small businesses that develop and sell products in national security and renewable energy industries, Krishnamoorthi has a Bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton University and an honours from Harvard Law School.


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