Kumar P Barve, the first Indian- American to be elected to a US state legislature, has decided to run for the US Congress in the 2016 elections

WASHINGTON: Kumar P Barve, the first Indian- American to be elected to a US state legislature, has decided to run for the US Congress in the 2016 elections.

Kumar BarveThe 56-year-old Democrat plans to be in fray for the US House of Representatives seat being vacated by Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

“I am announcing today that I’m running for the open 8th Congressional District of Maryland to help rebuild our middle class, restore hope in the American dream, and grow our economy so that everyone has an opportunity to thrive and the freedom to live as they wish,” he said.

Born in Schenectady in New York, Barve in 1990 made history at the age of 32, when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates and became the first Indian-American ever to serve in a state legislature.

The legislator, who is currently chairman of the House Environment and Transportation Committee, said his vision was restoring the American dream, which beckoned Indian to the land of opportunity.

“Now, that dream is in jeopardy for millions of American families. There is no longer confidence that working hard and playing by the rules means being able to provide for your family,” he claimed.

If elected he would join fellow Democrat Ami Bera from California, currently the only Indian-American in the US Congress, and would be the fourth from the community to be elected to the House of Representatives.

“My family, like so many others, came to America for freedom and opportunity. As they left India and travelled across the Atlantic they knew they would face hardships but they were hopeful that they would succeed,” he said.

Barve said, for 25 years as a legislator, “I have worked to earn your trust.”

“As a Majority Leader in the Maryland House of Delegates, I helped lead the effort to build the best public school system in America. I worked to foster economic growth through investments in biotechnology and information technology. I also fought to raise the minimum wage, expand health care to working families and keep college tuitions low,” he said.

Swati Dandekar May Run for Congress in Iowa’s 1st District

Former Iowa state legislator Swati Dandekar is mulling a bid for Congress in 2016 in Iowa’s District 1, which includes Cedar Rapids and Dubuque.

If she decides to run, she would be the second Indian American joining what is expected to be a crowded field in the Democratic primary vying to unseat first-term Republican Rod Blum.

Ravi Patel, president of Burlington, Iowa-based Hawkeye Hotels, announced his candidacy for the 1st District seat in February (I-W, Feb. 27).

Swati DandekarIt would be Dandekar’s second try for the seat. She resigned her post as a member of the Iowa State Utilities Commission to run for Congress in the Democratic primary in 2014.

In a five-candidate race, she received 18.3% of the votes, trailing the eventual Democratic nominee Pat Murphy and Cedar Rapids Councilwoman Monica Vernon, who received 36.7% and 23.6% of the ballots, respectively.

Murphy lost to Blum in the general election in 2014 by the narrow margin of 51.18% to 48.7%.

Blum voted against John A. Boehner for speaker on his first day in office, so he may get lukewarm support from the Republican leadership in his reelection bid.

Vernon has announced her candidacy again to run in the June 2016 primary and former Iowa governor Chet Culver, a Democrat, is also considering running for the seat, the Des Moines Register reported.

Dandekar told India-West, “I am doing my homework, talking to my friends and I feel very positive on what I am hearing.”

She pointed out that the district has a five percent registration edge for the Democrats. In 2012, President Barack Obama won the district with 56%.

“I am talking to people about my agenda, which includes education — which has been my passion — creating manufacturing jobs and immigration.” She said she supported the immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate last summer and is preparing position papers on jobs creation, education and other issues of concern to Iowans.

Dandekar served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2003-2009 and in the Iowa state Senate from 2009-2011.

She has been talking with the Democratic leadership and will make her decision by this summer, she said. What she has been hearing so far is all positive, she added.

Source: India West