Indian-American Impact Fund announces first round of endorsements for 2018 elections

The Indian American Impact Fund, a recently launched political action committee, announced Feb. 8, that it has endorsed two candidates for the U.S. Congress, whose races will be watched closely in the run-up to the November elections, as well as an Indian-American running for the state senate.

Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller is running from Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. John Delaney, a Democrat, who declared he will not run for re-election. Miller, who has the most cash-on-hand of the five Democratic candidates vying for their party’s endorsement in teh June 26 primary. An engineer by trade, Miller has served in the Maryland State House since 2010 where her focus has been in STEM education, streamlining the regulatory process for small businesses, and bringing 21st century jobs to Maryland. Miller has been endorsed by EMILY’s List, 314 Action, all four sitting Indian American members of the House of Representatives, and a number of state and local elected officials. If elected, Miller will be the second Indian-American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives.

The second candidate Impact is endorsing is Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval in Ohio, who recently announced his run for the U.S. Congress from the 1st District, currently represented by Republican Rep. Steve Chabot. Pureval will have to defeat Laura Ann Weaver, in the May 8 Democratic primary, before going on to challenge Chabot. Ballotpedia lists this as a ‘safe Republican’ seat. Democrats are banking of  Pureval’s past performance. In 2016, Pureval won an upset victory, defeating an incumbent who had a storied family name. The seat had been held by Republicans for a 100 years, Impact noted. A former federal prosecutor and attorney for Procter & Gamble, Pureval, is credited with overhauling the Hamilton County Courts website, expanding its hours, opening a legal help center, and streamlining operations in order to return over $800,000 to the county’s general fund, Impact said.

Ram Villivalam is making his bid for Illinois 8th State Senate District. The open primary is on March 20. Villivalam takes on incumbent State Senator Ira Silverstein, a Democrat. The 8th State Senate District has the highest percentage of Asian Americans in the state of Illinois, according to Impact. According to Ballotpedia, another Indian-American, Zehra Quadri, is running for the same seat. Villivalam has earned the endorsements of several members Congress, Impact says, including U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, and U.S. Congressman Ro Khanna, D-California, as well as constituency groups such as the Sierra Club and Equality Illinois PAC. If elected, Villivalam would be the first Indian-American ever elected to the Illinois state legislature.

“Not only do these individuals showcase the talent and patriotism of the Indian American community, they also represent the next generation of American political leadership,” Deepak Raj, co-founder of Impact and chair of the Impact Fund is quoted saying in the press release. “Voters are hungry for fresh faces and new ideas. These candidates are well-positioned to be part of a new wave of national and state leaders who will help fight back against xenophobic rhetoric and regressive policies and fight for economic opportunity and a stronger, fairer economy.”

In addition, Impact Fund has endorsed for re-election all four Indian American Members of the U.S. House of Representatives: Ami Bera, D-California; Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington; Krishnamoorthi; and Khanna, who are due for re-lection this November.

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