Indian American Nima Kulkarni is almost all set to win the Kentucky state House District 40 seat after winning the Democratic primary over three other candidates, including incumbent Dennis Horlander. The candidate, who has the backing of organizations such as the Indian American Impact Fund is expected to win the seat if she receives more votes than Republican Joshua Neubert this November.
Kulkarni is an immigration attorney, advocate and founder of the New Americans Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and informing the local community about immigration related issues.
When she was 6, her family immigrated from India to Louisville to ensure her brother could get the special education that was not available in India.
She went on to receive bachelor’s and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Louisville and then her law degree from the University of D.C. David A. Clarke School of Law.
The owner of the Indus Law Firm which specializes in immigration, employment and business law, Kulkarni in 2013 was honored by Business First in its 40 Under 40 list.
She serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Louisville, Louisville Public Media, the Indian Professional Council of Kentucky and the Beaded Treasures Project, which empowers refugee and underprivileged women in Louisville.
She is also a member of Greater Louisville Outstanding Women, the Rotary Club of Louisville, and serves as county ambassador for the Greater Louisville International Professionals.
Kulkarni’s platform is five-fold. Among the issues she is campaigning to address if elected include standing with labor and work for a living wage for all, supporting new and innovative ways to stimulate the state’s economy while ensuring public employee pensions, supporting equality and fair immigration policies, supporting a strong education system to give students the skills necessary for success in their careers, and supporting expanded and comprehensive healthcare for all, according to her website, www.votenima.com.
Thus far, the Indian American candidate’s voice has been heard. In the May 22 primary, Kulkarni received 1,642 of the 3,524 votes, or 46.59 percent. The incumbent Horlander was closer to last place than he was to first, while finishing second with 25.37 percent. The other candidates – Logan Gatti and Kelly Gibson – finished third and fourth, respectively, with 15.35 percent and 12.68 percent.
If Kulkarni wins the general election over Neubert, she would be the first Indian American to not only run, but win, state office in the history of Kentucky politics.