Indian American Candidates Vie for Crucial Roles in U.S. Elections
Indian Americans' active involvement in US elections showcases their increasing political influence, diversity, and valuable immigrant contributions, enhancing democratic representation.
FREMONT, CA: As the 2023 US election day approaches on November 7th, there is significant enthusiasm within the Indian American community, as numerous members are actively participating in various races for positions in state legislature and local government offices. The off-year election encompasses gubernatorial and state legislative contests in select states, alongside numerous mayoral and other local elections.
Indian American Impact–an organization dedicated to involving the Indian-US diaspora and rallying South Asian communities to endorse and elect representatives across local, state, and federal government levels–has been providing support to numerous Indian-US and South Asian candidates participating in the elections.
The following highlights a few noteworthy Indian American contenders competing in crucial electoral races in the upcoming week.
Puja Khanna, a mental health advocate and owner of a small business, is campaigning as a Democrat for the position of Loudoun County Supervisor in the Dulles district, Virginia. Her potential election would mark a historic milestone as she would become the first woman of Asian American and Indian American descent to hold the supervisor role in the county.
Suhas Subramanyam, a delegate representing Virginia’s 87th district, is currently campaigning for the state senate, district 32. He is a small business owner who previously worked as a technology advisor in the Obama white house. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, he served as a policy aide focusing on healthcare and veterans' issues, and he also clerked for the US Senate judiciary committee.
In his role as a technology policy advisor to President Obama, he led a task force dedicated to technology policy. Following his time in the White House, he established a consulting firm in Loudoun County to guide companies and non-profit organizations in the areas of technology, government regulations, and economic empowerment.
Nalini Krihnankutty, a first-generation immigrant hailing from India, seeks re-election for a new two-year term as a member of the state college council within her borough’s governing body. Transitioning from an engineering career, Krishnankutty has diversified into writing, education, and public speaking, with a strong emphasis on shaping the narratives surrounding immigrant experiences. Currently, she holds the position of program manager for diversity, inclusion, and belonging at Penn State's human resources department, and she boasts a wealth of experience in championing and facilitating the creation of inclusive communities at both the local and statewide levels.
The Democratic Party's candidate for the New Jersey State Senate District 11 is Vin Gopal, who is seeking re-election as his current term in the state senate is set to conclude in 2024. He emerged as the primary victor in June of this year. Mr. Gopal holds a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University and possesses a professional background that encompasses business ownership and a position on the board of directors for the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce.
Rishi Bagga, a Democrat, is a candidate in the upcoming Floride house election, where he is focusing on promoting fairness and advocating for the community’s future. He pursued a career as an attorney to champion justice and equity, serving as a prosecutor dedicated to assisting survivors of domestic violence. Bagga is currently running in the Democratic primary for a special election, aiming to challenge Republican extremists and their policies.
Seema Dixit, who migrated to the US alongside her spouse, is vying for a seat on the sully district public school board in Fairfax Country. Her goal is to advocate for the interests of parents and students. She is running as a nonpartisan candidate and is dedicated to establishing an equitable and all-encompassing education system that empowers students to realize their complete potential.
Priya Tamilarasan, the child of South Indian immigrants, is currently a candidate for the position of Gahanna city attorney. Meanwhile, Kannan Srinivasan, a member of the democratic party who immigrated from India, is running for the Virginia House of Delegates in District 26 and holds the position of chair on the Virginia Medicaid board.
Saji Mathew, a native of Philadelphia, is a candidate for the Lower Moreland School Board. He contends that the board plays a crucial role in the meticulous supervision of substantial capital endeavors, including the construction of a new high school facility. With more than two decades of expertise as a certified accountant and fraud examiner, he believes his professional background qualifies him as a fitting contender for the position.
Ashwini Udgaonkar, a certified Democrat candidate for the position of Marple Township Commissioner in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, is an experienced attorney who has resided in Marple for three decades. As an immigrant from India, she has been dedicated to serving her community, offering pro bono assistance to women seeking protection from abuse orders through Legal Aid of Delaware County. She has collaborated with the Villanova Law School Clinic for Asylum, representing clients in their asylum applications. Udgaonkar's objective, if elected, is to ensure responsible financial management and long-term planning for Marple Township. She aspires to advocate for eco-friendly practices and play a role in shaping budgetary decisions.
Balvir Singh, the inaugural Sikh elected to a countywide position in New Jersey, is currently vying for the role of county commissioner. Hailing from Burlington Township, New Jersey, he is a mathematics instructor and a member of the Democratic Party. Previously, he secured victory in the freeholder election by unseating two incumbent Republicans in Burlington County, a predominantly Republican region. In doing so, he earned the distinction of becoming the first Asian American to triumph in a countywide election in his county and also the first Sikh American to achieve this milestone in New Jersey.
The active participation of Indian Americans in key races in the upcoming US elections is emblematic of their growing influence and engagement in American politics. From congressional candidates to state and local races, the community is making its mark, reflecting the diversity and inclusivity of the American political landscape. These candidates bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table, further enriching the democratic process. Their presence highlights the strength of immigrant contributions to the country and underscores the importance of representation that mirrors the nation's diverse population.