Pramila Jayapal, the Chennai-born Democrat, who was endorsed by Sanders, running from Washington’s 7th district, is all set be elected to the US Congress, reports suggest. Armed with the notion that corporate special interests and anti-immigrant hysteria have sunk their talons far too deeply into the overarching body of American politics, Indian American Pramila Jayapal, 50, has set out to add her boldly progressive voice to Capitol Hill as a congressional representative from Washington state.
Jayapal — who emigrated from India as a teenager — is running for Congress from Washington’s 7th district in order to succeed incumbent Jim McDermott. The district, which includes most of Seattle, is considered to be one of the most reliably Democratic localities in the nation.
Jayapal, who originally hails from Chennai, is engaged in a primary battle with four others, including fellow Indian American Arun Jhaveri, who formerly served as the mayor of Burien, Washington.
After observing the hypocrisy and skewed nature of Wall Street first hand during the 1980s, Jayapal has spent the past 25 years advocating for both the middle class and immigrants across the United States. She now hopes she can bring that very same impetus to the House of Representatives if elected in November.
An adamant proponent of the American Dream, Jayapal recently spoke with the American Bazaar about her plan to keep the ethos alive for future generations of Americans regardless of race, creed, or socioeconomic status.
Jayapal, who is a strong supporter of Immigration reform, reminds of her work “for 15 years and I don’t think there’s anyone in the state who knows the policy and the politics of immigration reform better than I do, so that’s certainly a big thing.” Recalling that she came to the United States “when I was 16, my parents took all the money they had — about $5,000 — and put it into sending me here so that I could get what they thought would be the best education. I think the opportunity to have that and in a way, to live my version of the American Dream, has made me that much more committed to making sure that other people get their American Dream.”
“I started OneAmerica, formerly known as Hate Free Zone, right after 9/11 and it initially dealt with hate crimes against Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians, but within two weeks of that post-9/11 backlash was that we were fighting the U.S. government. It was the time of President George Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft; they were detaining and deporting people simply for being Arab or Muslim. I felt I had to speak out about things going on that were completely wrong and antithetical to the American values that I had just sworn to as I had just become a U.S. citizen in 2000.”
Jayapal understands the need to contain the cost of higher-education, which has become a flashpoint for many post-grads who now find themselves stricken with unsustainable debt. “I would like to introduce a bill here in the state that would provide tuition-free college. I started here in the state with free community college just because our community college system is so accessible to so many people across the state as opposed to our four-year institutions. If we could increase transfer rates from two-year colleges to four-year colleges, I think that would be tremendous. I’d be looking to do something similar in the U.S. Congress for all institutions of higher education.”
A believer in clean energy, Jayapal is of the belief that it’s a great opportunity to invest in green jobs — to use the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy as the opportunity to actually invest in a whole new infrastructure, and that’s both jobs and the environment together. “To me, that seems like the smart thing to do.”
Pramila has major endorsements from every sector, such as 21 sitting members of Congress including Ami Bera and Keith Ellison; every major women’s group like NARAL, EMILY’s List, Planned Parenthood; every labor union that has endorsed in her race (over 50 now including the state’s labor council, AFL-CIO); the list goes on.
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of GOPIO, told this writer, “I want to tell you about a dynamic Indian American who is Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal. I had known Pramila since she was running for the State Senate in 2014. She has been a community activist since 2001 who has campaigned for civil rights and served as the executive director of OneAmerica, a pro-immigration advocacy group.”
According to Abraham, Pramila, a strong progressive immigrant woman, who won her nine-way primary with 42% of the vote and is well on her way to being the first Indian American woman elected to Congress, is being attacked by her opponent – a fellow Democrat. We need to make sure that Pramila gets to Congress, and we must rally to raise the $250,000 she needs by November 1st, so she can call her opponent out on his negativity and keep her message from getting drowned out by his attacks. Let us support Pramila to become First Indian American Women Congresswoman.”