US-India Global Review

24 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JANUARY-MARCH 2018 of progress and ensure that fami- lies across the country are pro- tected and that their rights are upheld. After the presidential elec- tion, we saw hate crimes rise, and I introduced legislation demanding justice for hate crime victims. With the cruel termination of DACA pro- tections and the GOP’s attempts to strip health care from millions, I made sure to fight both with legis- lation, speeches, organizing and constituent outreach. We are still fighting for a clean Dream Act to help immigrants and I am pre- pared to do whatever it takes to make sure Trump doesn’t stomp on the rights of immigrants, peo- ple in need of health care and all people across this country. 4. How are you preparing for re-election and what is your fundraising situation and what has the Indian-American com- munity done to help you? My race last year cost about $7 million, and I was so honoured to have 82,000 donors across the country contributing. Many of those donors were Indian- American and they have contin- ued to stand by me. But we do need to do a lot more education of our community so that they under- stand how hard it is to run, and how much we Indian-American candidates need their financial support to run. Indian-Americans have done so well for themselves, and I have felt their pride in having the first Indian-American woman in the House! But we cannot do it without their financial support, and since we have to run every two years, it is important for as many to step forward and help keep us in office. Since Washington state is a “top-two” state—which means the top two vote getters advance to the general election regardless of party—it means that I will likely face a strong challenger in all of my elections. I am preparing for that and certainly appreciate the support of Indian-Americans across the country. 5. Does the "Samosa Caucus" as Rep. Krishnamoorthi has called the slew of Indian-Americans now in Congress, meet and coordi- nate? How? And how do you see the role played by Indian- Americans in the domestic and foreign policy front in terms of their achievements and how they could gain more traction at the policymaking table? We do talk and we do coordi- nate some because, based on our experiences, I think we bring a dif- ferent and valuable perspective to the way we legislate. We have all come together on a number of bills around hate crimes protec- tions for communities, including Indian-Americans. On my bill to address South Asian heart health, because Indian-Americans have four times the incidence of heart disease as other communities, all of the Indian-Americans have signed on as co-sponsors. But a lot of our work is individual too. I tend to work most closely with Ro Khanna because we are both on the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and on the Budget Committee together. As for the role of Indian Americans in the policy space, it’s the duty of com- munity to get politically involved so that the policy outcomes reflect the diversity in our country. Asian American and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States—we are powerful and many—but our voter turnout is the lowest of any demographic. I think that we have to claim our space; own our knowledge and experiences; and truly engage in the process. That is how we will gain more traction and more influence. 6. What do you count as your contributions to ties with India over the last one year? You did go in a Congressional delega- tion to India and it would be great to hear your concerns and plans? As the first Indian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, it’s been an honor to be able to engage with India in an official capacity. I was honored to join a bipartisan con- gressional delegation trip to India and Nepal with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. We met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Prime Minister Modi, and Nepalese leaders to discuss the ways in which the U.S., India and Nepal could work together. It was wonderful to hear about India’s booming tech industry as well as the admirable strides the country is taking on climate change. Since climate change is one of the biggest priorities for me and my

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