Jayapal Power

Freshman Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., was named to Politico's latest power list as one of the top 18 people to watch in 2018. Politico called the Indian American a feisty freshman Democratic lawmaker who knows how to punch back. (Som Sharma/India-West photo)

Politico recently released its Power List of 18 individuals to watch in 18, with freshman Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal among those noted.

The list, according to Politico, highlights politicians, activists and operatives across the country who are poised to have a big year in 2018.

From the "resistance" on the left, to the establishment and the Bannonite wing trying to remake the GOP, these are the people to watch over the next 12 months, Politico wrote.

Politico calls the Indian American Jayapal, D-Wash., a feisty freshman Democratic lawmaker who knows how to punch back.

The publication cites an incident when California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa accused the India native Jayapal, who was raised in Indonesia and Singapore, of “naiveté” on the issue of immigration on the House floor. The congresswoman followed with this tweet, “Thank goodness we have so many men in Congress to mansplain our naiveté. Here’s to you, @DarrellIssa,” Politico noted

Issa wasn’t the lone culprit. GOP Rep. Don Young of Alaska during a House debate called the 52-year-old Jayapal a “young lady’’ who “doesn’t know a damn thing.” Jayapal responded on Twitter saying, “A message to women of color out there: stand strong. Refuse to be patronized or minimized,” Politico pointed out.

In talking with Politico, Jayapal said, “I thought, ‘What century am I in, that people can actually say these things to me?’”

Determined to fight “a culture of diminishment around women in this Chamber,” Jayapal said her goal is to challenge colleagues “in a way that flies high ... I try to be both gracious — and pointed,” the report said.

The Indian American’s story is well-known among the Indian community in the U.S. She came to the country at 16 on her own to study at Georgetown University. In 2001 she founded Hate Free Zone — later renamed OneAmerica — dedicated to advocacy work, including registering new immigrants to vote and lobbying for immigration reform. She later became the first South Asian American to be elected to the Washington state Legislature and then earned a spot in Congress in 2016.

“I knew I would have to succeed,’’ she told Politico Playbook. “My dad used all his money to get me here.”

Politico said Jayapal has assumed the mantle of a House “leader of the resistance.” From her spot as first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she has worked as “a relentless advocate of civil rights and immigration reform on Capitol Hill,” says her friend and fellow freshman House member, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the report said.

Among her most recent drives: a legislative pushback against Trump threats to end Temporary Protected Status for thousands of Haitians and Salvadorans by allowing them to apply for permanent residency if they can prove they would face extreme hardship if they return to their home countries, the publication added.

“She’s really positioned herself to be an essential player in the future of the Democratic Caucus in the House,” Democracy for America’s Robert Cruickshank, who is also one of Jayapal’s constituents, told Politico.

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