In an historic day Tuesday, four Indian American members of the House of Representatives and the first Indian American Senator were sworn in to the 115th Congress of the United States, not only exceeding the number of Indian Americans ever elected to Congress, but quadrupling the community’s representation in the House. Rep. Ami Bera, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Ro Khanna, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal were sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives, marking the first time in history more than one Indian American has served in Congress simultaneously. Sen. Kamala Harris Tuesday was the first Indian American sworn in to the Senate.
“This milestone is not only a proud moment for Indian Americans, it’s a proud moment for all Americans,” said Rep. Ami Bera of California’s 7th Congressional District. “As a nation of immigrants, the United States has greatly benefited from one generation after another of Indians and Indian Americans living here. I’m proud that Indian Americans now have the chance to contribute to our nation’s democratic fabric, and as someone who served for four years as the only Indian American in Congress, I’m honored to be joined by such qualified colleagues. With the door wide open, we hope to inspire the next generation to serve the country that we love.”
“The contributions and struggles of the Indian-American community are woven into our nation’s fabric. This is a watershed moment in our community’s history, representing all that is great about America,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington’s 7th Congressional District. “As the first Indian-American woman in the House of Representatives, I’m proud to serve with such capable colleagues, and I hope that our presence in Congress inspires the next generation of leaders.”
“I’m humbled and honored to join my friends in Congress in this historic moment. We know we stand on the shoulders of the Indian Americans who came before us. They established themselves in this country, gave back to their communities, and paved the way for us to follow,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi from the 8thCongressional District of Illinois. “The story of our community is unique but also similar to that of immigrants throughout American history. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make our contributions to that legacy, knowing others will follow.”
“It’s an extraordinary time to serve in Congress and I am proud to represent the only Asian American majority district in the continental United States,” said Rep. Ro Khanna of California’s 17th Congressional District. “As a son of immigrants and grandson to a freedom fighter during India’s independence movement, the protection of civil rights — no matter a person’s gender, race, or sexual orientation — will always be side-by-side with my commitment of economic fairness for all.”
Bera, who in the 114th Congress Co-Chaired the Caucus on India and Indian Americans, was the lone Indian American member in the 113th and 114th Congress. Prior to Bera, Dalip Singh Saund and Bobby Jindal served in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1957-1963 and 2005-2008, respectively.