List of Indian Americans running for Congress in 2018

Desis in U.S Congress include a visible minority in the American politics. (ref: Indian-American Fab Five who are serving in the 115th US Congress ). Due to the ongoing Congress session in America, most of the current Congressmen/women were unable to travel for “First PIO Parliamentarian Conference held in New Delhi”

As per media accounts, at least 14 Indian Americans — including four incumbents — are running for the US House of Representatives this year. The list of Indian Americans who have announced their candidacy from various congressional districts across the country include:

Candidate: Aruna Miller
District: Maryland’s 6th congressional district
Party: Democrat

Aruna Miller

In May 2017, Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller became one of the first Indian Americans to jump into fraywhen she filed a “Statement of Candidacy” form with the Federal Election Commission to run for Congress from Maryland’s 6th congressional district. The incumbent John Delaney has announced that he’s not seeking reelection.

Miller, who is a civil engineer by profession, came to the United States at age 7. She first got elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in November 2010. She is a member of the Ways & Means Committee and its subcommittees on revenue, transportation, and education. She is the second Indian American delegate from Maryland to run for Congress in two years. Fellow Democrat Kumar Barve ran unsuccessfully from the neighboring 8th district in 2016.  Miller and her husband, David Miller, live in Darnestown, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.

Miller has said her focus areas will be jobs, economy, and infrastructure.

Candidate: Dr. Hiral Tipirneni
District: Arizona’s 2nd congressional district
Party: Democrat

Dr. Hiral Tipirneni
Dr. Hiral Tipirneni

Dr. Tipirneni, an emergency room physician, first announced her candidacy from Arizona’s 8th districton July 19, 2017. A special election was announced for the seat after the incumbent Rep. Trent Franks resigned on December 8, following a House ethics panel decision to investigate him over sexual harassment charges.

The primary is scheduled for February 27 and the general election for April 24.

Tipirneni’s family immigrated from India when she was three. She grew up in suburban Cleveland and obtained a medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University.  After serving as Chief Resident of the University of Michigan’s Emergency Medicine program, she and husband, Kishore, whom she met at the medical school, moved to the Phoenix, AZ, area. The couple has three children.

Candidate: Anita Malik
District: Arizona’s 6th congressional district
Party: Democrat

Anita Malik; Credit: Twitter

Businesswoman Anita Malik is running for the US Congress in the 6th congressional district of Arizona. The daughter of immigrants from India, Malik is running for the seat held by three-term Republican, David Schweikert.

Malik believes in fair tax reform that benefits both individuals and small businesses. She is assuring quality, low-cost health coverage for everyone and support to immigrants by policies that unite families and bring diverse talent. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Malik was 7 when her family moved to Arizona where her father worked as a mechanical and computer engineer.

She went on to graduate summa cum laude with degrees in both computer information systems and finance from Arizona State University. She later earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California in 2002.

Candidate: Jitendra Diganvker
District: Illinois’ 8th district
Party: Republican

Jitendra Diganvker; Credit: LinkedIn

Jitendra Diganvker announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Illinois’s 8th congressional district race in November.

If nominated by the Republican party, Diganvker will be facing another Indian American and Democratic incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi, and it will be the first time two Indian Americans will be facing each other in the congressional general election.

Diganvkar is campaigning on the issues of security, affordability, fairness, and entrepreneurship.

Born in India, Diganvker’s father was a government officer and his mother a teacher. According to his website, he graduated from Shah N. H. Commerce College, in Valsad, Gujarat, with a degree in Business Management and Advanced Accounting.

In 1995, Diganvker immigrated to the United States to pursue his American dream. He got a job working at a small retail store in Chicago, then worked as a ticket auditor for United Airlines. He became an American citizen on February 4, 2003, and after years of hard work and saving money he launched his first business, of renting cars, which he ran for years.

After closing down his car rental business, Diganvker launched his credit card processing firm based in Schaumburg.

Candidate: Vandana Jhingan
District: Illinois’ 8th district
Party: Republican

Vandana Jhingan

Another Indian American running for the Republican Party nomination from Illinois’ 8th district is Vandana Jhingan, a journalist by profession. She is backed by the Republican Hindu Coalition.

Jhingan, a Chicago-based journalist, is the Midwest Bureau Chief of the Indian American cable network TV Asia. Like Krishnamoorthi, she also lives in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Jhingan, who is from New Delhi, came to the United States after graduating in Business Administration from the Faculty of Management Studies in Delhi. She also studied philosophy at University of Delhi.

Candidate: Sapan Shah
District: Illinois’ 10th district
Party: Republican

Dr. Sapan Shah; credit: drshahforcongress.com

A physician by profession, Shah is running from Illinois’ 10th congressional district seat as a Republican.

The 37-year-old candidate from Libertyville mainly plans to focus on the areas including healthcare crisis, taxes and spending; and championing the role of citizen legislators as intended by the nation’s founders.

The seat is currently held by the three-term incumbent Democrat Brad Schneider.

The Republican primary is scheduled for March 20. Shah is competing against two other Republicans, Jeremy Wynes and Doug Bennett, who have already announced their candidacy earlier.

Shah is the founder of Flagship Healthcare, a Chicago firm that supports some 800 physicians and several hospitals across the country.

Candidate: Harry Arora
District: Connecticut’s 4th congressional district
Party: Republican

Harry Arora

Businessman Harry Arora is running for Congress from Connecticut’s 4th congressional district.

Arora, who is seeking the Republican nomination, filed his paperwork with the state to register as a candidate in December. His focus would be on reviving the economy of Connecticut, lowering the cost of healthcare and improving government.

Born in India, Arora came to the United States as a graduate student. After his graduation, he worked for large corporations for a decade.

After working with Amaranth Advisors, LLC, a Greenwich-based hedge fund that collapsed in 2006, Arora started his own investment management firm, ARCIM Advisors, LLC. In 2012, he co-founded Northlander Advisors, an investment firm with a focus on European energy.

Candidate: Abhijit ‘Beej’ Das
Party: Democrat
District: Massachusetts 3rd congressional District

Abhijit' Beej Das
Abhijit’ Beej Das

Abhijit Das, “a constitutional lawyer by training, but an entrepreneur at heart,” as he calls himself, is the first Indian American congressional candidate to run from Massachusetts. He is one of the 13 candidates who have so far entered the race to succeed the retiring Democrat Niki Tsongas, the wife of former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Paul Tsongas.

Son of immigrants from India, Das — popularly known as “Beej” — grew up in Lowell, MA. After earning his bachelor’s in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, he worked as a lawyer for a few years. He went on to work for Hilton Worldwide, where he was responsible for the development of its brands on the Indian subcontinent. Das left Hilton to launch his own hospitality business, Troca Hotels & Yachts.

Das says he is running for congress because politicians in “Washington have become overgrown unruly children who can neither get along nor get out of each other’s way.” He says on his website, “We all want an American government as worthy as its people. ”

The primary in the state is on September 4.

Candidate: Sri Preston Kulkarni
Party: Democrat
District: Texas 22nd congressional district

Sri Preston Kulkarni; https://www.kulkarniforcongress.com
Sri Preston Kulkarni

Sri Preston Kulkarni, who worked as aide to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is running from Texas’ 22nd congressional district, which has the largest Indian American population in the state.

The former Foreign Service Officer has spent time in Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan and Jamaica during his 14-year career with the Department of State.

The Democrat says he is running because “hostility and conflict are being inflamed in our own country, through the politics of anger and demagoguery, demonization of specific ethnic and religious groups, threats to rule of law, degradation of women, and an undermining of democratic institutions like a free press.”

The Texas 22nd district, which is in the Greater Houston area, is currently represented by Republican Pete Olson. It has a highly diverse population with 25 percent Hispanics and 18 percent Asians. Having served the country as diplomat, he says he knows how to “push back the tide of fear” and offer “a positive vision for the future that all groups can believe in.”

Candidate: Chintan Desai
Party: Democrat
District: Arkansas 1st congressional district

Chintan Desai
Chintan Desai

Chintan Desai moved to Helena, Arkansas, from California in 2010 to teach fifth graders as part of Teach for America. Seven years later, he’s preparing to take on the three-term incumbent Republican Rick Crawford.

Desai grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, and earned his undergrad degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. “My unlikely story began when my parents moved to this country with little money and even fewer friends,” he says on website. “They lived the American Dream working hard every waking moment to provide their only child a bright future. I had opportunities beyond my wildest dreams — going to college to earn a degree and launching a career in education.”

Desai is running on a progressive platform. Among issues that he’s advocating are making higher education more affordable, closing the income and wealth inequality, sensible gun-control legislation and slowing climate change.

Once a Democratic stronghold, the district is reliably Republican now.


Article Source : American Bazaar

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US census bureau will tell you how many Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali are in America

The US census is finally counting how many people speak Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali.

Marketers, analysts and consultants continually watch for demographics trends on the Non-Resident Indian community in the US and North America. These trends serve many purposes and also enable focused marketing to an ethnic community.

EthnicIndianAmericans

Wouldn’t Amazon want to know if you are of Tamil origin and begin marketing Pongal related items a month before January? Likewise marketing in advance of Holi and Lohri if you happen to be a Punjabi. Details of ethnic subgroup, especially of those from a South Asian background are valuable to marketers.  e-Commerce giants like Amazon, Google, Apple aspire to know detailed demographics of their target consumers and use sophisticated algorithms, cookies and tracking to build databases.

Desi Associations across the US and small businesses and Indian markets also actively court members of ethnic communities. In regions with a larger population of a particular community, one can see multiple associations focused on sub-groups. Likewise one might see multiple Indian restaurants catering to Punjabi, Andhra, Canara, Chettinad and other specialized cuisines in a region with higher population of such communities.

The recent move by US census bureau to track “Language Spoken at Home and English-Speaking Ability” of ethnic communities is an interesting development being watched by marketers. A recent announcement indicates that New data for five languages are available on American Fact Finder Table B16001: Haitian, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil.

  • Of the 280,867 people ages 5 and older who spoke Punjabi at home, 48.0 percent lived in California.
  • Of the 259,204 people ages 5 and older who spoke Bengali at home, 38.6 percent lived in New York.
  • The 321,695 people ages 5 and older who spoke Telugu at home and the 238,699 people speaking Tamil at home were more evenly distributed across many parts of the nation. For both languages, the highest concentration of speakers lived in California, followed by Texas and New Jersey (the number of persons who spoke Tamil in Texas and New Jersey are not statistically different).

In the past years, GaramChai.com has been publishing summary of ethnic data from different sources “Indians, Indo-American and NRIs in the US – Fatcts and Figures” and summary of inputs from a review of Census data.

The US census is finally counting how many people speak Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali

Tips for preparing your phone before an international trip

In the past we at GaramChai.com reviewed phone calling plans, and Voice over Internet (VOIP) services. An increasing number of Americans continue to travel across the globe for business and to visit foreign lands.

HQ-Foreground-Images-International-Calling[1]

The Wired magazine has an interesting feature that highlights ways “to prep your phone for International travel” 

The Wired article assumes that you have a smartphone at your disposal. Given the fact that smartphones are cheap – many startups are selling smartphones for undeer $100 – this is perhaps a valid assumption.

The tips are timely and easy to follow:

Level 1: Go Wi-Fi Only – Good news: You can go “off the grid” and still update your feeds by using your phone in Wi-Fi mode. Just toggle off cellular data or leave your phone in airplane mode from the moment you board the plane.  This is a very practical tip for a couple of reasons

  1. Wi-Fi has become commonplace and pervasive across the globe. When you travel to any major metro across the world you are bound to find cheap or Free wi-fi service at hotels, restaurants, malls and offices.
  2. Thanks to services like Whatsup and other VOIP chat software, high-speed Wifi can be used to for voice calling and you don’t need a data and voice plan during the trip!

Level 2: Take Your American Plan Abroad – “If you need better connectivity to, say, hail a Lyft from the Acropolis, simply add a global package to your current service. It’s shockingly easy. For example, AT&T offers a service called Passport, which gets you 200 MB of data and unlimited texting in more than 200 countries for just $40 tacked onto your current monthly plan. (Calls abroad still cost a buck a minute, so talk quickly.) Verizon offers a similar service, Travel Pass, that costs $5 a day to extend your plan to Mexico and Canada and $10 per day for service in more than 100 other countries.

Tip: One thing to keep in mind with a plan that you can easily run out of bandwidth or data plans while traveling. Use this service with caution; or be willing to shell out the big bucks.

Level 3: Talk Like the Locals: Flexing that unlimited vacation policy and staying abroad for more than a week or two? Consider replacing your SIM card and using a local service provider. First, make sure your phone is unlocked. You can do this by swapping your SIM card for another one and confirming that your phone still works, or simply calling your service provider. The FCC requires that providers unlock all devices so you can use them on any network, so simply ask your provider for an unlock code.

Power Up: Luckily, almost all smartphones will work plugged into outlets between 100 volts and 240 volts, so you probably don’t need a voltage converter to charge your phone. However, you will need a phone adapter plug.

Indian Student shot dead in California, Sushma Swaraj seeks report.

Image of the victim, Dharampreet Singh Jassar, posted on Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

 An Indian student, Dharampreet Singh Jassar was shot dead by four armed robbers at a grocery store in the US state of California.

Jassar was shot by one of the four robbers while they were leaving the service station after looting cash and goods.  At this point officials suspect robbery was the motive and ruled out hate crime.

One of the four robbers who has been arrested was a person of Indian Origin, Armitraj Singh Athwal.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has confirmed that Indian Government was following up and tweeted:

Links to articles about the incident:

 

 

 

 

NRI from Gujarat killed in a shootout at his strip club in North Carolina

A non-resident Indian (NRI) with roots in Gujarat was brutally killed in a shooting in the United States. Forty year old Akash Talati had shifted to US a decade ago. He was running a motel that housed a strip club in  Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, fire and candles

Talati was the owner of  the Diamondz Gentlemen’s Club and was apparently killed in a shootout that resulted from an altercation between the club’s security guards and a patron, who was thrown out.

According to the family, some unidentified assailants had entered the motel with the motive to carry out a loot.“When Akash tried to intervene, the assailants opened firing inside the motel leaving three other employees in the motel injured. Akash died on the spot. After the police reached there, the injured were shifted to hospital where condition of one employee is still critical.”

According to Detective J Littlejohn of Fayetteville Police, the shootout took place around 1.30 am on Saturday, local time at Fayetteville, when Talati was present inside the club. Littlejohn said, “The incident was a result of a verbal exchange between the security guards hired by Talati and a patron, who was asked to leave the club due to his behaviour. He was upset about being asked to go, there was an argument and he opened fire. Talati was shot from close range and died on the spot, while three other employees were injured.”

Littlejohn said no other Indian was injured, while one of the injured is critical. Probe is on to identify the accused, officials said.

Akash is survived by wife Mital, who hails from Surat and eight-year-old son Jay. His last Facebook post, hours before his death, read, “Life is too short for fake connections.”

Other articles about this incident:

 

NRI billionaire living in Saudi Arabia to contest elections in India

We have been reviewing questions like “How can I participate in Indian politics being an NRI?”? (blog) . 

Many Indian-Citizen NRIs participate indirectly in Indian politics by the use of social media. Some NRIs actively participate on overseas chapters of political organizations like Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS),? Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and others.

Some NRIs are eagerly awaiting the opportunity for clarity on regulations around proxy voting for elections in India (link). Now comes an interesting news about an NRI billionaire living in Saudi Arabia planning to contest elections in Himachal Pradesh.

Prakash Rana, a billionaire living in Saudi Arabia, has filed his nomination as an independent candidate for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh elections. Rana is so certain of his ‘win’ that he sees no competitor against him. Rana will be contesting in the Vidhan Sabha polls from Joginder Nagar constituency in Mandi district, according to ANI.

Is this yet another Return To India trend we are likely to see? More NRIs returning to contest in Indian Elections.


Articles on the topic

This Saudi based billionaire Prakash Rana will contest Himachal Pradesh assembly elections; see his mind-blowing house, helipad – Financial Express

Luxury life of Himachal by-poll’s candidate Prakash Rana – Daily Post

Himachal elections 2017: Prakash Rana, Saudi Arabia billionaire files nomination as independent candidate – Free Press Journal

Questions on Adoption from the Gut-wrenching end to the Sherin Mathews saga

Americans and Indian Americans alike have been following the saga of Sherin Mathews, the sweet baby girl, that went missing from the home of her adopted parents in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Today, the media is reporting that

Police have found a body in the search for a three-year-old girl who went missing after her father reportedly sent her out of the house at 3am as a punishment.

Sherin Mathews has been missing since October 7 after being left in an alley by her home in Dallas, Texas, for refusing to finish her milk.

Police said the remains of a child had been found yesterday in a tunnel around half a mile from the family’s home. Officers said the body was “most likely” that of the missing toddler and efforts to officially identify it are underway today.

Sherin Mathews, who has been missing since October 7 CREDIT: RICHARDSON TEXAS POLICE DEPARTMENT

Wesley Mathews a native of Kerala in India and his wife Sini adopted the toddler’s from India. She was reportedly malnourished when the Mathews adopted her and police suspect that the little girl also had disabilities, which made it difficult for her to communicate. The three-year-old was last seen when her father reportedly took her outside at 3 AM and made her stand near a tree behind the family’s house as a type of punishment for not drinking milk.

Sherin Mathews saga does not end here, but rather raises more questions:

  • About parenting: The area behind the house is wooded and infested with wild coyotes.  What would possess a parent to leave a three-year-old near the house at 3 AM “as a type of punishment for not drinking milk” ?
  • About adoption: Adopting a child is hard enough (link). Will stories like this make it harder for innocent parents to adopt children from abroad?
  • About Indian-Americans: Incidents like these throw a spotlight on the South-Asian, Indian-American and NRI community. Not all the media attention will be positive.

 

Links:

Check out our earlier blog  NRIs have a hard time adopting a child. Maybe this is why

GaramChai.com – Adoption, Adopting, children and Indian Social Links

Dallas News: Missing Richardson girl was dumped in bushes before adoption brought orphan to U.S.

Indian Express: Adopted Indian girl missing in US: Police recovers a body in tunnel, ‘most likely’ to be of Sherin Mathews

Blasting news: Grandparents, adoption agency in India speak of Texas toddler Sherin Mathews