Meet the Indian Americans elected in the US midterm elections

The "Samosa Caucus" in the US Congress has added another member with the election of Shri Thanedar, and three of its members have won reelection, while another is leading in his constituency. ARUL LOUIS reports.

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The “Samosa Caucus” in the US Congress has added another member with the election of Shri Thanedar, and three of its Indian American members have won reelection, while another is leading in his constituency.

Democrats Pramila Jayapal in Washington State, Raja Krishnamoorthi in Illinois and Ro Khanna in California have been reelected into Congress followng the midterm elections, while Ami Bera was leading in California on Wednesday morning.

Ami Bera is leading the election in California
Ami Bera (Source: United States Congress)

The Indian American members of Congress have nicknamed themselves the “Samosa Caucus”.

Republican Ritesh Tandon, who ran against Khanna, and Democrat Sandeep Srivastava in Texas have lost, while Rishi Kuma, who is running against a fellow Democrat under California’s system was trailing.

India’s “son-in-law” J.D. Vance, who is married to Usha Chilukuri, has won the Senate seat from Ohio.

He is a Republican allied with former President Donald Trump.

Members of the “Samosa Caucus”

An entrepreneur and self-made millionaire, Democrat Thanedar, 67, who was born in Belgaum in India, beat a Republican rival in Detroit in Michigan state.

Thanedar, who is now a Michigan state legislator, ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic party nomination for Governor in 2018.

He came to the US in 1979 and got his PhD in chemistry and an MBA.

He took out loans to buy a company he worked for, Chemir, and built it from a $150,000 company to one with a revenue of $14 million before selling it for $26 million, according to his LinkedIn page.

He next started Avomeen Analytical Services, a chemical testing laboratory.

He sold the majority stakes in it in 2016 and, according to his campaign bio, retired to get involved in public service to answer “the call to fight for social, racial and economic justice”.

Running in a constituency that covers a chunk of a city that is overwhelmingly African-American, Thanedar stressed in his campaign that he grew up in poverty in a family of ten in India and worked in odd jobs to support his family after his father retired.

“I’ll never forget what it’s like to live in poverty, and I’ll never stop working to lift Detroit families out of it,” he wrote on his campaign site.

Thanedar will be the seventh Indian-American to be elected to the House.

Chennai-born Jayapal, 57, who was first elected in 2016 from Washington State, is the senior whip of the Democratic Party in the House and the chair of the influential leftist Congressional Progressive Caucus.

As an activist for progressive causes, she has worked on immigrant issues and workers’ rights and was elected to the Washington State Senate in 2014.

She has been a strong critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Khanna, 46, is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Fox News reported that he is exploring a presidential run in 2024.

He is close to Bernie Sanders, the leftist Senator who has unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Politico reported that top leaders from Sander’s camp have urged him to seek the Democratic Party nomination if President Joe Biden does not run again.

A second-generation Indian American, he was born in Philadelphia and has a law degree from Yale University.

Krishnamoorthi, 49, who was born in New Delhi is politically a centrist and was a technology entrepreneur.

He has worked with former President Barack Obama’s campaigns for Senator and President.

A second-generation Indian American born in Elks Groce, California, Bera, 57, is a doctor.

Aruna Miller:  “I’ve never stopped being excited for the promise of America”

Aruna Miller, Democrat, Indian-American, winning midterm in Maryland
Source: Twitter / Aruna Miller

Indian-American Democrat Aruna Miller has also succeeded in becoming the first immigrant to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor in Maryland following the mid-term elections.

The 58-year-old, who is said to have her roots in Hyderabad, immigrated to the US from India when she was seven.

In a series of tweets after winning today’s midterm elections, Miller wrote: “Ever since I came to this country in 1972, I’ve never stopped being excited for the promise of America. I will never stop fighting to make sure that promise is available to everyone. And this promise begins with a commitment to deliver a Maryland where we Leave No One Behind.”

Of course before her, two Indian-origin Governors have made their mark: Niki Haley in South Carolina and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana.

Dalip Singh Saund, a Democrat, became the first Indian-American elected to the House in 1956.

He was followed by Republican Bobby Jindal in 2004.

READ ALSO: Aruna Miller wins Maryland midterm election

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