Congressman Ami Bera. (Bera for Congress)
With his victory almost certain following a rare endorsement by President Obama, Indian-American Ami Bera hopes he would joined by at least one or a few other community members in the U.S. Congress next year. Also, making a rare appearance in a video commercial, President Barack Obama has endorsed “good friend” Indian-American Raja Krishnamoorthi for the U.S. Congress from a Congressional district in a Chicago suburb, writes Lalit K. Jha. – @siliconeer #siliconeer #USCongress #IndianAmerican #AmiBera #RajaKrishnamoorthi #BarackObama #KamalaHarris #PramilaJayapal
Bera, the only elected Indian American in the current Congress, is seeking re-election from a challenging Congressional district in California for the third consecutive term.
He has identified two others—Raja Krishnamoorthi from Chicago and Pramila Jayapal from Seattle—most likely to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We are gearing up the opportunity to welcome at least one, may be two or three other Indian Americans to the Congress,” Bera told PTI in an interview.
“I mean Raja Krishnamoorthi in Chicago, certainly Kamala Harris would be the first Indian American Senator and may be Pramila Jayapal from Seattle. I think this could be a better year for Indian Americans,” Bera said.
Political pundits have favored Krishnamoorthi and Jayapal to win the House of Representatives elections in their November 8 general elections.
Latest polls suggest that Harris has increased her lead over her nearest rival.
Bera, 51, is facing a challenge from Republican Scott Jones, who was elected as Sheriff of the Sacramento County in 2010 and then reelected in 2014.
In both the previous two elections in 2012 and 2014, he was declared elected only after recounting of votes.
Only the third-ever Indian American to have been elected to the House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund in 1950 and Bobby Jindal in 2000s, Bera made his maiden entry into the House of Representatives by defeating incumbent Dan Lungren by a little over 9,000 votes.
Bera received a big boost to his campaign after he was recently endorsed by President Barack Obama.
“I’m proud to endorse Dr. Ami Bera for the United States House of Representatives. In Congress, Ami has had my back as we’ve worked to make the country stronger, safer, and fairer for California families and now I have his back,” Obama said in a statement.
“Ami is a fighter for the middle class, and knows we need to build on the economic progress that workers and businesses have made in recent years. Ami has stood with me as we work to keep our country safe, defend a woman’s right to choose, protect Social Security and Medicare, and make college more affordable. I’ve counted on Ami, and Californians can, too,” Obama said in his rare endorsement.
Bera said he is honored to receive the endorsement of Obama.
Obama appears in ad for Indian-American running for Congress
“Hi, this is Barack Obama asking you to vote for my good friend Raja Krishnamoorthi for Congress,” Obama said in the short video that has started running on local television station of 8th Congressional District of Illinois.
In the video, President describes Krishnamoorthi as a “good friend” who helped him “develop ideas for building an economy that works for everyone” when he ran for the U.S. Senate.
Having won the Democratic Party’s Congressional primary in Illinois, Krishnamoorthi, 42, now faces Peter DiCianni of the Republican Party.
“When I ran for the U.S. Senate, Raja helped me develop ideas for building an economy that works for everyone. Now Raja s plans will help small businesses grow, raise wages, and help families pay for college. The polls are open now, so don’t waste a minute. Vote Raja Krishnamoorthi for Congress,” Obama said.
The 30-second video shows one of the pictures of Obama at Krishnamoorthi’s home having Indian food at a dinner.
Busy campaigning in his district Krishnamoorthi told PTI in an interview that economy is the main issue in his district along with education, social security and healthcare.
This is Krishnamoorthi’s second attempt to enter the U.S. House of Representative. He was defeated in the Democratic primary in 2012.
Obama has also recorded a phone call to reach out all the households in his Congressional district, he said.
Based on the feedback that he has been receiving from the ground, Krishnamoorthi said people are “horrified” with the prospect that Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, could be the president of the U.S.
Krishnamoorthi said Trump is a dangerous and divisive candidate who has no place in the White House.