Samosa Caucus

FROM THE DIRECTOR’S CORNER

Samosa Caucus

-Sanjay Kudrimoti

Public service is innate to Indian American culture. Most Indian Americans are active in public service via their community service and through active participation in various nonprofit and charity organizations. Probably the most prominent way until date Indian Americans have contributed is via their skills. Indian Americans have been forebearers of innovation in the fields of health care, technology and education. Hence a natural progression can be seen now in the landscape of the elected body.

Governance in America is primarily bottoms-up. The real day to day issues regarding public concerns are addressed and handled at the local level. In the recent 2020 elections there were 36 separate ballots that featured an Indian name. Of these 36 contests, Indian Americans representing both political parties won in 17 races – a 47% success rate. Of these 17 candidates in the win column, nine of them are women (53%). Closer to home, a very dear friend of IAGB and a member of New England community – Mrs. Latha Mangipudi retained her seat in the New Hampshire State Assembly. Ms. Kesha Ram is the first woman of color to be elected to the State Senate in Vermont. Jenifer Rajkumar is the first South Asian woman to be elected to the state assembly in New York State.  Two Indian American candidates, Rik Mehta in New Jersey and Sara Gideon in the state of Maine were the winners in the primaries of their respective parties for the seat in the august body of US Senate but failed to make it to the win column (see table below).

 The US House of Representatives now has four congressmen, all four reelected to their seats (two from California and one each from Illinois and Washington). Six other candidates (three republican and three democrat) were in the running for US Congress but did not make across the finish line. But the promise these candidates showed was in their ability to raise funds and run a competitive race across board. It is just matter of time when the samosa caucus will keep expanding across all states in US.

While the successes for Indian Americans are significant down ballot, election of Vice President Elect Kamala Harris has been the most prominent in the history of US. The first woman, the first person of color ever to be elected to the post of vice presidency has Indian American background.

While at this moment we all can celebrate the ‘representative’ nature of Indian Americans – it is the ‘governance’ that matters. India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and the largest democracy. US – India relationship has been friendly across all administrations in the past few decades but there is lot of scope to strengthen the ties even more. India as a trade partner is a win-win for both economies. The other bigger concern for both countries is in the area of China’s dominance and threat from terrorism. India and US have common interests and goals and threats. It is imperative that Indian Americans with electoral wins and their ability to leave their fingerprints on the policies of US government work towards a strong US – India friendship ties and we see tangible progress in all areas of concern.

S no

Candidate

Running For Office

State

Result

1

Nima Kulkarni

House of Representatives

Kentucky

Won

2

Sridhar Verose

Mayor, San Ramon

California

Won

3

Ranjeev Puri

Sate Representative

Michigan

Won

4

Latha Mangipudi

State Representative

New Hampshire

Won

5

Padma Kuppa

State Representative

Michigan

Won

6

Vandana Slatter

State Representative

Washington

Won

7

Niraj Antani

State Representative

Ohio

Won

8

Kesha Ram

State Senate

Vermont

Won

9

Jay Chaudhuri

State Senate

North Carolina

Won

10

Nikil Seval

State Senate

Pennsylvania

Won

11

Amie Bera

US Congress

California

Won

12

Ro Khanna

US Congress

California

Won

13

Raja Krishnamoorthi

US Congress

Illinois

Won

14

Pramila Jayapal

US Congress

Washington

Won

15

Vedica Puri

Superior Court of San Francisco County

California

Won

16

Jenifer Rajakumar

State Representative

New York

Won

17

Kamala Harris

Vice President

US

Won

18

Pooja Sethi

City Council, Austin

Texas

Lost

19

Jesal Amin

Mayor, East Brunswick

New Jersey

Lost

20

Brajesh Singh

Mayor, Piscataway

New Jersey

Lost

21

Sanat Sethy

Mayor, San Ramon

California

Lost

22

Dr Dinesh Govindarao

Mayor, San Ramon

California

Lost

23

Aparna Madireddi

Mayor, San Ramon

California

Lost

24

Susmita Nayak

Mayor, San Ramon

California

Lost

25

Dhimant Patel

Running mate – Brijesh Singh

New Jersey

Lost

26

Sarita Bhandarkar

State Assembly

New York

Lost

27

Radhika Kunnel

State Assembly

Nevada

Lost

28

Ronnie Chatterji

Treasurer

North Carolina

Lost

29

Sri Preston Kulkarni

US Congress

Texas

Lost

30

Nisha Sharma

US Congress

California

Lost

31

Manga Anantatmula

US Congress

Virginia

Lost

32

Rishi Kumar

US Congress

California

Lost

33

Hiral Tipirneni

US Congress

Arizona

Lost

34

Ritesh Tandon

US Congress

California

Lost

35

Sara Gideon

US Senate

Maine

Lost

36

Rik Mehta

US Senate

New Jersey

Lost