Indian American Democrat Pramila Jayapal swept the open primary for Washington’s 7th Congressional District and will now advance to the general elections in November. Jayapal, who was one of the first Congressional candidates to be endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders in April, won 38 per cent votes in the primary. She would become the first Indian American woman to enter the US Congress if she wins the November elections.
“Pramila just proved that candidates can run a strong progressive campaign funded by small-dollar donors and win big. The people-powered movement that propelled our campaign to victory in states around the country is already changing how campaigns are run up and down the ticket,” Sanders was quoted on Jayapal’s victory.
Jayapal, a Chennai-born Malayalee came to the US in 1982 to attend Georgetown University, from where she earned her bachelor’s degree. After working as a financial analyst in Wall Street she earned her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Switching her career path to social justice, Jayapal in 1991 moved to Seattle to work for an international public health non-profit, PATH. Jayapal founded ‘Hate Free Zone’ in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks as an advocacy group for Arab, Muslim and South Asian Americans targeted following the attacks. As the group expanded and got national recognition it was renamed OneAmerica. Jayapal also led one the most successful voter registration campaigns in Washington State, where she registered 23,000 new Americans to vote. For this in May 2013, Jayapal was recognized as a “Champion of change”. Since 2015, Jayapal represents the 37th legislative district in the Washington State Senate. Some of the campaign issues she has addressed include raising minimum wage, expanding social Security and Medicare, ensuring debt-free college and keeping families of immigrants together, among others.
There are three other serious Indian American contenders for a seat in the House this November. Ami Bera, the only Indian American in the current Congress, is seeking re-election for the third term from California, Raja Krishnamoorthi from a suburb in Chicago and Ro Khanna from Silicon Valley.
Sanjay Puri from USINPAC remarked, “The 2016 General Elections will make history on so many counts. USINPAC congratulates Pramila Jayapal on her success in the primary and will campaign to put all Indian Americans on the ballot, this November to the US Congress.”
Story Courtesy: USINPAC