Tag Archives: Elections2018

Indian Americans Not Shy About Testing Political Waters in Mid Terms

Indian Americans have set the stage for a potentially record-breaking year in U.S. politics as nearly 100 of them are on ballots accross the nation in next week’s mid-term elections. And many are first-timers.

There’s even a race for Congress pitting two Indian Americans against each other, the battle for Illinois’ 8th Congressional district east of Chicago. Long held by popular Democratic incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi, he is being challenged by Republican newcomer Jitendra “JD” Diganvker. An entreprenuer and Uber driver, Diganvker once supported Krishnamoorthi. He now faces an uphill battle against his well-funded opponent. Diganvker said he entered the political fray after witnessing the struggles of average Americans.

“To support my family, I began driving for Uber, logging over 10,000 rides since last year and learning the value of the gig economy. Talking to my Uber partners and riders, I gained a unique understanding of the needs and frustrations of everyday Americans. These are the people who go to work every day, take care of their families, and believe in the American dream. Yet they feel like politicians in DC and Illinois are failing them,” he said.

Other first timers include:

Josh Kaul, a former federal prosecutor and candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General. A Democrat, he says he is running to make Wisconsin safer by tackling issues such as opioid and meth abuse, sexual assault, consumer fraud, and pollution. And he’s putting the state’s current Attorney General, Brad Schimel, squarely in his cross hairs.

Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni is running for Texas’ 22nd House seat covering the south central suburbs of Houston. His opponent is incumbent Republican Pete Olson, first elected in 2008.

“This election is the most important one in our lifetimes,” says Kulkarni, a former U.S. Foriegn Service Officer. “After serving America for almost 15 years overseas, I could no longer serve under an administration that is violating the basic values that made America the great country it is today. When a judge is told he can’t do his job because he’s Mexican-American, or when the administration refuses to condemn a Nazi rally in Charlottesville, we have to take a stand and speak out for true American values.” he said.

“I’m running for Congress because I believe our country is one that treats those who are less fortunate with compassion, that is reasonable in the way we deal with each other and treats all people with decency and respect.”

In Arizona, newbie politician Anita Malik, a former tech company chief operating officer and journalist, is running for Scottsdale, Arizona’s sixth Congressional district northeast of Phoenix. A Democrat, Malik says she’s running because she believes the “district needs a representative who will listen to constituents and then represent them.” She also says she “understands the small-business culture” of the district and wants “to fight for families.”

The Indian American vote will be important for all these candidates, but according to Gautam Raghavan of the Indian American Impact Project and Fund that has endorsed several South Asians, Indian American voters aren’t that different from other Americans when it comes to issues that concern them including health care, education, immigration.

He said recent polls by organizations such as APIA (Asian and Pacific Islander) Vote reveal that “Indian Americans are, among Asian Americans, the most enthusiastic about voting and the most worried about divisiveness in America today.”


Paul Kilduff is a freelance writer based in San Francisco, California. He has written for the East Bay Times, San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Monthly and many other publications. He has also worked in radio as a reporter, host and producer and even finds time to draw cartoons.

2018 Midterm Elections Voter Guide For Indian-Americans

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) released its 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide, the only resource designed to engage, educate, and mobilize the growing South Asian American electorate in Congressional districts nationwide.

At over 5 million strong, South Asian Americans are the second-most rapidly growing demographic group nationwide, across longstanding community strongholds and newer regions in the South. As a result, South Asian Americans occupy an increasingly significant position in the American electorate. In this critical election year, South Asian Americans have a stake in key policy questions that affect our communities, and are deeply impacted by issues spanning immigration, civil rights, hate crimes, and the 2020 Census.

This guide is a voter education tool that equips South Asian Americans and all voters with the crucial information they need to cast informed votes this November. SAALT’s non-partisan 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide does not endorse any candidate—rather; it analyzes House of Representatives candidates’ positions on four critical issues for South Asian Americans in twenty Congressional Districts with the highest South Asian American populations. The Guide also includes analysis on two additional races that feature a South Asian American candidate and a Congressional district whose member currently holds a leadership position in the House of Representatives.

Each race shows the Democratic and Republican candidates’ positions on the issues of immigration, civil rights, hate crimes, and the 2020 Census based upon their responses to a series of questions. SAALT reached out to all candidates with a questionnaire and analyzed publicly available information on their voting records on federal legislation, public statements, and policy platforms to develop our analysis. For all incumbent candidates, SAALT analyzed only their voting record on key legislation to determine their policy positions. All questions are included in the Guide to allow voters to assess a candidate’s positions themselves even if a particular Congressional district is not featured.

The Voter Guide will continue to serve as a critical community education tool that keeps the focus on the important issues impacting our nation on the road to the November 2018 elections and beyond.