The Indian American Impact Fund April 19 announced a list of endorsements for various political races throughout the U.S.
Joining the growing list of Impact Fund endorsed candidates is Josh Kaul, Padma Kuppa, Samir Paul, Ashwani Jain and Susheela Jayapal.
“From coast to coast, Indian Americans are stepping up to run for office and serve their fellow Americans,” said Deepak Raj, co-founder of Impact and chair of the Impact Fund. “These five candidates represent the breadth and depth of talent in our community, and Impact Fund is proud to stand with them.”
Already endorsed by the fund are Sri Kulkarni in Texas and Hiral Tipirneni in Arizona, both running for Congress (see India-West article here); as well as Aruna Miller, running for Congress in Maryland; Aftab Pureval and Ram Villivalam.
Villivalam went on to win his primary election for state Assembly in Illinois, the de facto general as no Republicans are running for the seat (see India-West article here).
Kaul, a former federal prosecutor who has worked on significant voting-rights cases, is running for Wisconsin’s attorney general seat.
In one of the most closely watched races for state Attorney General in the country in 2018, Kaul's campaign has focused on addressing the opioid epidemic, the importance of ending Wisconsin's backlog of untested rape kits, protecting Wisconsin families from consumer fraud and polluters, and the need for an AG who is independent and a watchdog for Wisconsinites, the fund noted.
Kuppa is an engineer, activist and mother, serving as a prominent community leader in southeastern Michigan for two decades. She is running for a state House seat in the state’s 41st legislative district.
In 2015, Kuppa was appointed to the Troy Planning Commission and subsequently elected to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Kuppa is running with strong support from local elected officials in a district with a large Indian American population where the most spoken minority language is Telugu, her mother tongue, the Impact Fund said.
Paul is running for the Maryland House of Delegates in the 16th district. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to work at IBM and for the 2012 Barack Obama re-election campaign before returning home to Maryland to teach computer science at his former high school.
As Montgomery County’s 2016 Rising Star Teacher of the Year, he modernized his school's computer science curriculum and helped pass a state law that would bring computer science classes to every high school in Maryland, the news release said. Now, Paul is running for the delegates’ seat to give his students the same opportunities he enjoyed, it added.
Jain, a first generation Indian American and son of small business owners, as well as a 15-year cancer survivor and Obama White House alum, is running for the Montgomery County Council at-large seat in Maryland.
He is running a highly competitive campaign for Montgomery County Council. Backed by a broad coalition of supporters, including former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Jain is positioned to be the youngest person, the first Asian American, and first Indian American to ever serve on the Montgomery County Council, the Impact Fund said.
Jayapal is an attorney by trade and has served as general counsel of Adidas America, where she worked to improve conditions at factories in Southeast Asia. She is running for Multnomah County Commission’s District 2 seat in Oregon.
Earlier in her legal career, she represented the government in suing corrupt and negligent bank officers, and provided free legal services to people seeking asylum. She has spent more than 15 years as a community advocate, and if elected, she will become the first Indian American to hold public office in the state of Oregon, the fund noted.
“As a former state legislator, I know firsthand that state and local elected officials can have a powerful impact on the lives of their constituents,” said Raj Goyle , co-founder of Impact and a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives.
“Supporting talented down-ballot candidates like these doesn’t just lead to good policy; it’s also good politics. This is how we build a bench of future national leaders,” Goyle added.
A political action committee, the Impact Fund works with experienced operatives, campaign strategists and donors to endorse candidates based on their viability and commitment to advocating for the needs and values of the Indian American community.
The Impact Fund continues to track over 80 Indian Americans running for office in 2018 and will issue further endorsements in coming months, it said.