US election-2016

US election-2016

In the recently concluded US elections that swept President Donald Trump to power, a record five Indian-American candidates bagged congressional seats. All five are Democrats and three are from the state of California.

In the recently concluded US elections that swept President Donald Trump to power, a record five Indian-American candidates bagged congressional seats. All five are Democrats and three are from the state of California. 


Kamala Harris, 52 became the first Indian-American to be elected to the Senate from the state of California. The victory for Kamala Harris is significant because senators are elected by the entire electorate of the state and California is the most populous state in the US, with 18 million voters. Kamala’s father is a Jamaican of African descent and is a practicing Baptist. Her parents are now divorced and he mother is Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer-specialist from Chennai. Kamala herself, is a lawyer by profession and was twice elected as the state’s Attorney General, in 2010 and 2014. She is a product of Hastings College of Law, San Francisco. She is considered to be a protégé of former President Barack Obama, who called her brilliant, tough and fearless. She is a civil-rights activist involved in immigrant and women’s rights causes.


Promilla Jayapal, 51 hails from Kerala and her parents reside at Bangalore. She is a Financial Analyst by profession and a product of Georgetown and Northwestern universities. She is the first Indian-American woman, to be elected to the House of Representatives. A strong advocate of social justice, she is particularly interested in women’s, immigrant’s civil and human rights. She is considered to be a strong voice in the national immigration debate.


Raja Kishnamoorthy, 43 is from Tamil Nadu and is an engineer, lawyer and entrepreneur. He is a product of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He is the President of Sivananthan Labs & Episolar, Inc. a private company in Chicago, which deals with national security equipment and solar energy. He is a staunch supporter of women’s rights, equal pay for equal work, paid sick and maternity leave, raising federal minimum wage and making college education more affordable. He has also served as special Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Treasurer of the state of Illinois.


Ro Khanna, 40 was born in the US to emigrant Indian parents. He is an engineer and lawyer having graduated from University of Chicago and Yale. He is currently Vice President Strategic Initiatives, Smart Utilities Systems - an energy efficient company in Santa Clara. He was the former federal Deputy Assistant Commerce Secretary, during the Obama Administration. In winning the Congress seat, he defeated the seven-term incumbent from California (District 17), which is home to Silicon Valley and where tech giants Apple, Intel, Cisco and Tesla are headquartered. Ro Khanna, believes in new–age manufacturing in America, wants to make school curriculum more innovative and college education more affordable and help middle–age workers find good paying jobs.


Ami Bera, 56 was born in the US, to Indian immigrant parent from Orissa. On 06 Nov 16, he was successfully re-elected to serve a third term in the US House of Representatives, earlier he had won the seat in 2012 and 2014. He is also the co-chair of the India Caucus, which is an influential group of legislators interested in India. Ami Bera is a medical doctor from the University of California. His third election was mired in controversy, when his father was found to have illegally transferred funds into his election campaign.


Though all the Indian-American members of Congress were elected on Democrat Party tickets, the Senator and four Representatives of Congress, are each individually talented, professionally experienced and confident. It is also a proud moment for Indian women that Kamala Harris and Pramilla Jayapal made history by winning their respective seats.

With the largest ever Indian-American presence in the US Congress, Indo-US relations should strengthen under the Donald Trump Presidency.