US - INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW

them our support — and we have a plan to help them run, win, and lead," he adds. People like Contractor and Nisha Jain, both from WLP, and IALI which was very active from 2006-2010, could be considered the early building blocks for Impact, as would several other organizations which have worked over the last 15 years and more to raise awareness within the com- munity. As Contractor said, the strength of WLP lies in identifying these students early on, introducing them to mentors, and watching that mentorship work, long after the internships in Washington, D.C. He points to people like Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, or Neil Patel, who was an advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney, and long-time conserva- tive political activist Kapil Sharma, all Republicans, as well as Democrats like Barve, Sam Arora, former Maryland state delegate, and numerous others, who contin- ue to keep contact with graduates of WLP. "We were successful in placing people in both the Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaigns," Contractor says. Graduates of WLP have gone on to win state level political office, such as Arora, and Niraj Antani, current Republican state representative in Ohio. Another graduate, Aakash Patel, a Republican, is running for the County Commission in Tampa, Florida. "From WLP's perspective, even if there is no formal organization, we see a new energy based on our applications alone," contends Contractor. Another interesting development Contractor points to is that in more recent years, the pool of applicants and those selected has been "overwhelming- ly" women Puneet Ahluwalia, the 10th dis- trict representative on the Virginia Republican State Central Committee, who served on President Trump's Asian Pacific Advisory Committee, told this writer, that at this time in the Indian-American Republican field, there are some individual efforts at supporting Republican candi- dates, but the efforts are "divisive" whereas, "Politics is about winning and bringing together." 9 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW JULY-SEPTEMBER 2018 Aftab Pureval, candidate for the U.S. House from Ohio District 1, with Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-NewYork. Photo: Twitter

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