US elections 2016: RO Khanna, a hope for Indian-Americans in Silicon Valley

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'US Presidential elections' is the buzzword these days and in order to capture the anticipations and the holdrum, OneIndia reaches out to an Indian-American Democrat at Silicon Valley who states the tension that goes with it.

Meet Mr RO Khanna, who is a teacher, lawyer and  also served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary to the  United States Department of Commerce under President Barack Obama.

RO Khanna

A member of the Democratic Party, Khanna has a lot of faith in the Indian Community in California and says that the crowd there can change history. But blames the passivity of the same that led to his defeat in California's 17th congressional district in 2014.

Urging them to come out and vote in maximum numbers, he insists that his presence in the United States House of Representatives will make a lot of difference in the lives of the Indian Communities living in California. He considers the Congressional primary (to be held on June 7, 2016) as a historic opportunity to be elected as an Indian and representing the entire community, voicing their concerns and bringing them to the forefront.

Highlighting his agenda, he answers a few questions from our side.

 Why do you think Indians would be attracted to vote for the Democratic Party and trust your candidacy?

My passion is education. Prioritizing education is a value that many in the Indian-American community share. I am pushing for colleges to be affordable and debt free, for better funding of our public schools, and for better technology in our classrooms. This is an agenda that many in the Indian American community agree with.

I also stand for an inclusive vision of America that welcomes immigrants and people of all faith. Many Indian-Americans share a vision of America that is welcoming to immigrants and respectful of people of all faiths.

California had the largest number of Indian immigrants in 2011 (380,700 or 21 percent of the nation's nearly 1.9 million Indian born), followed by New Jersey (210,400, or 11 percent). How will the Indians benefit if you won?

The Indian-American community needs to exercise its right to vote and serve. Even though there are nearly 200,000 Indian Americans in the Bay Area, only about 25 percent are voting. This election, we expect record turnout, and my hope is every Indian American will vote this June 7th.

[Read: California: Congressional Democrat RO Khanna urges Indians to vote, help him win]

The biggest benefit to the community will be for future generations. We need to encourage young Indian Americans to believe that they can do anything in this country and they too have the chance to give back. If I win on a platform, which is proud of my immigrant story, it will encourage many other young Indian-Americans to participate in public service. I also will be very accessible and focused on helping all my constituents.

What will be your talking points? Anything noticeable that you have done, which can attract Indian votes?

Last election cycle,  we won 83 percent of the Indian American vote. The problem was that of 25,000 Indian-Americans only 10,000 voted. We hope, things will change in this cycle when every Indian-American in Fremont, Cupertino, Milpitas, Newark, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale will vote.

That will allow us to make history. We anticipate a record turnout this time. My positions on education, the environment and getting special interest on money out of politics will attract support. 

What are the grounds on the basis of which Indian-Americans will vote for you?

The community is looking for representatives who will be proud of their heritage and values. I don't shy away from talking about my Hindu faith and for my respect for people of all faiths. I also talk about my grandfather's inspiration. He spent four years in jail fighting for India's independence. His passion for human rights and social justice has a profound impact on how I look at issues.

Hate crimes against Indians are on the rise. What can be done?

The hate crimes are because of stereotyping and not understanding the Indian American story. The only way we can change that is by having a seat at the table.

We need people to vote. We need them to get involved. We need more people to serve in the Congress who understand the positive contributions the Indian American community has made. I know my win in 2016 will be historic for the Indian American community. I hope everyone will have a chance to participate by visiting 

We need everyone's vote and financial support at any level to make history. Please visit my website for further details, queries etc.

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