Impact fund

One of the political candidates endorsed by the Indian American Impact Fund is Maryland state Del. Aruna Miller, who is running for Congress. (arunamillerforcongress.com photo)

The Indian American Impact Fund Feb. 8 endorsed three Indian American political candidates who are up for election this year.

Among those the Impact Fund endorsed are Maryland state Del. Aruna Miller, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval, and Ram Villivalam.

“Not only do these individuals showcase the talent and patriotism of the Indian American community, they also represent the next generation of American political leadership,” said Deepak Raj, co-founder of Impact and chair of the Impact Fund. “Voters are hungry for fresh faces and new ideas. These candidates are well-positioned to be part of a new wave of national and state leaders who will help fight back against xenophobic rhetoric and regressive policies and fight for economic opportunity and a stronger, fairer economy.”

Miller is running for a seat in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. The Indian American candidate is an engineer by trade who has served in the Maryland State House since 2010. Some of the work she has done included investing in STEM education, streamlining the regulatory process for small businesses, and bringing 21st century jobs to Maryland.

Miller has been endorsed by EMILY’s List, 314 Action, all four sitting Indian American members of the House of Representatives — Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ami Bera — and a number of state and local elected officials.

If elected, Miller will be the second Indian American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives.

Pureval is running for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District post. In 2016, the Indian American won an upset victory, defeating a member of a powerful political family and claiming a seat that had been held by the other party for over 100 years (see earlier India-West story here).

A former federal prosecutor and attorney for Procter & Gamble, Pureval has already delivered for his constituents by overhauling the Hamilton County Courts website, expanding its hours, opening a legal help center, and streamlining operations in order to return over $800,000 to the county’s general fund, the Impact Fund said in a news release.

Villivalam is in his first bid for Illinois’ 8th state Senate district seat. He is taking on an incumbent state senator, Ira Silverstein, who was recently stripped of his leadership position and found to have violated the Ethics Act by the Illinois inspector general.

The 8th state Senate district has the highest percentage of Asian Americans in the state of Illinois. Villivalam has earned the endorsements of several Congress members, including Krishnamoorthi and Khanna, as well as constituency groups such as the Sierra Club and Equality Illinois PAC.

If elected, Villivalam would be the first Indian American ever elected to the Illinois state legislature.

Additionally, the Impact Fund has endorsed the re-election of all four Indian American U.S. House of Representatives.

“These four Members of Congress exemplify what it means to be an Indian American elected official,” said Impact co-founder and former member of the Kansas House of Representatives Raj Goyle. “Not only have they fought tirelessly for their constituents, they have provided bold leadership for our entire country. They are proof that our work matters.”

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