Kumar Barve’s “Public Servant of the Year” by the International Leadership Foundation by a foundation that focuses on the achievements of Asian-Americans, is expected to boost his efforts to win a Congressional seat in the upcoming general election. Barve, the first Indian-American to be elected to a state legislature in this country to the Maryland state Assembly Delegate was recognized at an annual dinner in Washington D.C. on July 30th. Barve is currently running for the U.S. Congress from the open seat in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, and this award could serve him well in marshaling the support of the increasingly politically active Asian-American community in District 8.
Elected in 1990 to the Maryland state Assembly, Barve has been a mentor to numerous Indian-Americans seeking public office around the country. During his tenure in the Assembly, he has served as the leader of the Montgomery County delegation and as Majority Leader in that lower house. A social progressive and fiscal conservative, Barve is known to be a pragmatist and bridge-builder, with a record of being able to form coalitions around issues that need to be legislated.
“Kumar Barve is an historical civic leader in the Asian Pacific American community. He is the forerunner who opened doors for thousands of others to engage in the civic life of their communities and enter into public service careers”, ILF CEO and co-founder Chiling Tong is quoted saying in a release. The ILF focuses on high achievers in the Asian-American community.
Barve is a women’s rights and abortion rights activist and served as treasurer in the Maryland chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League and its Political Action Committee from 1986 to 1990. He was on Maryland NARAL’s board of directors from 1989 to 1990. Yet, with a record of speaking his mind, in June 2010, he slammed that organization in an open letter, for its endorsement choices. “Thank you for endorsing me for reelection,” he wrote to the NARAL PAC Chair Tracy Terrell, adding, “However, for the first time in 24 years I am stunned by many of the endorsement decisions of the PAC.” Barve also strongly advocates on education and environmental issues.
Born and brought up in the U.S., his parents, both of whom are no more, hailed from the Gujarat region. Over the years and especially during his campaign for the U.S. Congress, Barve, 56, has called out his heritage and talked of helping strengthen U.S.-India relations if sent to Capitol Hill. If elected he would be the 3rd Indian-American to be in the House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund from California (1957) and current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
The graduate of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. works as the Chief Financial Officer at the Maryland-based company, Environmental Management Services since 1992. His Congressional campaign recently received a shot in the arm when the Asian American Action Fund endorsed his bid.