Meet ‘Ro’ Khanna, 3 Other Indian-Americans Elected to US Congress

Raja Krishnamoorthi, Kamala Harris, Rohit Khanna and Pramila Jayapal have scripted history.

3 min read
 Raja Krishnamoorthi, Kamala Harris and Pramila Jayapal. (Photo Courtesy: AP/<a href="">@KamalaHarris</a>/<a href="">@PramilaJayapal</a>/Twitter)

Indian-Americans have definitely made a mark in the US general elections.

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi on Tuesday won the Congressional election from Illinois whereas California's Attorney General Kamala Harris scripted history as she won the US Senate seat from California, becoming the first Indian-American to do so.

Democratic congressional candidate Rohit ‘Ro’ Khanna, 40, defeated fellow San Jose Democrat Mike Honda to enter the US House of Representatives.

Khanna, born in Philadelphia to Punjabi immigrants, was the democratic party candidate from California's 17th District. He was a former official of the Obama administration and was endorsed by former US President Jimmy Carter.

India-born Pramila Jayapal, who made a mark with her progressive agenda in the Washington State Senate, became the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the US House of Representative. She was endorsed by Senator Bernie sanders.

The Victors!

New Delhi-born Krishnamoorthi, 43, defeated Republican former Elmhurst Mayor Peter DiCianni. He won the Chicago-area US House of Representatives seat, the 8th Congressional District, vacated by Tammy Duckworth who won Illinois' US Senate seat.

The winner thanked supporters in his victory speech.

Born in New Delhi on 19 July 1973, his parents immigrated to Buffalo New York when he was three-months-old.

Interestingly, he is the second Hindu-American to be elected to the US House of Representatives. Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu-American in the US Congress, is seeking her third term from Hawaii.

Krishnamoorthi and his opponent DiCianni were both trying to win the seat vacated by Tammy Duckworth who won Illinois' US Senate seat.

Krishnamoorthi had received 81,263 votes against his rivals 54,149 votes when almost 80 per cent of the votes were counted for the eighth Congressional district of Illinois.

Successful in his second attempt, Krishnamoorthi is only the second India-born member of the Congress after Dalip Singh Soundh in 1950.

Krishnamoorthi, who previously was the policy director and a senior advisor for Barack Obama's 2004 US Senate campaign, and served as an advisor to Obama's 2008, served as Deputy Treasurer of Illinois from 2007-2009 under Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and in 2010 ran for the Democratic nomination for Illinois State Comptroller, losing to David E Miller by less than one per cent of the vote.

Kamala Harris. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="">@KamalaHarris</a>/Twitter)
Kamala Harris. (Photo Courtesy: @KamalaHarris/Twitter)

Harris, 51, who defeated fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, is also the sixth black individual to be elected to the US Senate after US President Barack Obama. She is the first black woman elected to the upper chamber in more than two decades.

Her mother Shyamala Gopalan came to the US from Chennai to study science, specifically endocrinology and complex mechanisms of cancer.

Her father Donald grew up in Jamaica, where he became a national scholar and earned the opportunity to study economics Kamala was born in Oakland, California.

A two-term Attorney General of California, Harris defeated L Sancez from her own party.

She would replace Barbara Boxer who announced her retirement in 2014 after serving more than two decades in the Senate.

(With inputs from PTI and Times of India)

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