Kamala Harris Says More Indian Americans in US Need to Run for Elected Office: ‘So Much We Still Need to Do’

Kamala Harris has said that the number of Indian Americans in elected office in the United States does not reflect their growing population. On Wednesday, May 15, the US Vice President encouraged more members of the ethnic minority community to run for elected office.

Kamala Harris said more Indian Americans in the United States should run for elected office (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(AP)
Kamala Harris said more Indian Americans in the United States need to run for elected office (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(AP)

Harris made the remarks at Desis Decide, the annual summit of Indian American Impact, a Democratic Party think tank. It is known for funding Indian Americans across the country who are running for elected office.

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“Over the years, we’ve had so much more participation by Indian Americans in the electoral process, running for office. But the numbers still don’t reflect the size of the growing population,” Harris told an audience of several Indian Americans in Washington DC .

At present, there are only five elected Indian American members of Congress—Dr. Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Shri Thanedar. Impact previously said it believed the number of Indian Americans in Congress will increase to 10 by 2020.

Harris said the kind of work Impact does is “extraordinary.” I wanted to stop by to of course thank the organization for everything and everything it represents, but also to say especially to those who have run or want to run, that you should run,” Harris said.

‘There is so much we still need to do’

“You need to know that you are not alone. There is so much we still need to do as a country, and much of the work we each do, and that is why we are here together, is born out of a belief in the promise of America. And dare I say it, I am empirical proof of the promise of America,” the vice president added.

“This election coming up in six months, I think presents a question to each of us. Which is, what kind of world do we want to live in and what kind of country do we want to live in? And one of the ways that we answer that issue, is to seek office and participate in elections knowing that the outcome of those elections matters in fundamental ways,” she said.

Harris then asked the audience to raise their hands if they planned to run for office or were running. “What will happen, invariably it has happened to all of us, is that invariably you will find yourself in spaces where you are the only one who looks like you, the only one who has had your life experience. So what I say to you each one, look around this room and hold on to this image. And remember when you go into those rooms, when you go into those situations, you remember that you are not alone. We are all there with you. You must remember that,” she said.

Harris also opened up about her mother, saying she visited the United States from India when Harris was 19 and marched for civil rights in Berkeley. Harris revealed that she would visit India every two years while growing up and recalled how her grandfather would take her on morning walks. “And I remember as a young person hearing them discuss the importance of standing up for what is right and just,” she said.

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