Tag Archives: Swati Dandekar

USINPAC supports Indian American Swati Dandekar in her race for U.S. Congress

Nagpur-born Swati Dandekar, now a naturalized citizen of the USA, has announced that she will be campaigning to become a candidate of the Democratic Party for the Congressional district of Iowa.

Dandekar believes the foundation for success is an excellent education. She was brought up in Nagpur and went to the JN Tata Parsi School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Nagpur University and a postgraduate diploma in dietetics from Bombay University. She reached Iowa in 1973 and has been there since.

After holding several public service posts, Dandekar became a legislator from Marion area in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009 and served in the Iowa Senate from 2009 to 2011. From 2011 until recently she served as a member of the Iowa Utilities Board. Over the years, Dandekar has become known for raising a voice for job creation and advocating advanced technology.

Dandekar is the fifth to announce a run for the Democrat 2014 nomination to run for the seat. She has made agriculture, advanced manufacturing, technology and renewable energy the main planks for her campaign.

I am running for Congress because I truly understand the promise that the U.S. offers and I want to make sure that every Iowan is given the same opportunity that I had. I am a living testament that the American dream is alive,” she said.

Having chaired the Senate Commerce Committee, and discharging duties as vice chair of the Economic Development Budget subcommittee, Dandekar was elected president of National Foundation of Women Legislators in 2011. The same year she was appointed as Democratic member of the Iowa Utilities Board.

Until her resignation from the board she was a member of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and served on the NARUC Committee on Tele-communications and the Committee on International Relations.

Swati and her husband, Arvind, reside in Marion, Iowa. They have two sons, Ajai with wife Allison, and Govind, his wife Shaneeda, and daughter Ayaana.

In public service

  • Born in Nagpur in March 1951, Swati Dandekar attended JN Tata Parsi School.
  • Graduated from Nagpur University.
  • Holds PG diploma in dietetics from Bombay University.
  • Emigrated to Iowa, USA in 1973.
  • Represented Marion area in Iowa House of Representatives from 2003 to 2009.
  • Iowa Senate member from 2009 to 2011, chaired Commerce Committee and vice chair or Economic Devpt Budget Committee.
  • Elected president of National Foundation of Women Legislators in 2011.
  • From 2011 until recently, was member of Iowa Utilities Board.


Source: The Times of India

Tulsi Gabbard: A Leader in the Making

Guest Blog by Madhu Nair

History has it that women have been leaders with unbelievable authority and their leadership has been able to create an impact far better than their male counterparts. If Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto were amongst the strongest in the Asian continent, it was Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton who were the women in control from the west. To say that women lack leadership would be too timid and stupid, for today they have been up to the challenge and in many ways much ahead of men.

Modern day politics has bought some of the best women to the fore and the 31 year old Tulsi Gabbard is one among them. In the present race for the U.S. House of Representatives, Tulsi, who was trailing behind her rival by over 40 points a few months ago in the race for the Congressional seat from Honolulu has now taken a narrow lead brightening prospects for the first Hindu to be elected to the US House of Representatives. She now holds a five-point lead over Hannemann, former Honolulu mayor — 37% for Tulsi and 32% from Hannemann. This represents a huge change in the race since April where Hannemann led Tulsi by 26 points.

Although she would go on to become the first Hindu in the House, there have been some members of Indian origin with Hindu religion backgrounds in the Congress. Dalip Singh Saund became the first Indian-American and Sikh to serve in the House in the year 1957. Some other noted Hindu politicians who have made their way into U.S. politics amongst many others are Kumar Barve and Swati Dandekar. While Barve is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and is touted as the Most Influential Maryland Legislators; Dandekar is a Member of the Iowa Senate from the 18th district and also a very prominent face in U.S. politics.

Born in Leloaloa, American Samoa to Mike Gabbard and Carol Porter Gabbard, Tulsi is the fourth of five the children. Tulsi’s father Mike Gabbard is an educator, tennis professional, business owner and the current Hawaii State Senator of 19th District while her mother Carol is also an educator and business owner. Her family moved to Hawaii in the year 1983 where Tulsi grew up and was homeschooled through high school. She graduated from the Hawaii Pacific University with a Degree in International Business.

Tulsi is currently a member of the Honolulu City Council and served as Hawaii’s youngest state representative in 2002 and is also the youngest woman in the history of USA to be elected into such a prestigious position. A Company Commander with the Hawaii Army National Guard, she has volunteered to serve on two deployments to the Middle East. Tulsi also serves as the co-founder and vice-president of the environmental non-profit organization Healthy Hawaii Coalition.

Previously elected to the Hawaii State House of Representatives at the age of 21, Tulsi earned the distinction of being the youngest legislator ever elected in Hawaii, and the youngest woman ever elected in the United States. While in office, she served on the Education, Higher Education, Tourism, and Economic Development committees. She withdrew from an easy re-election campaign when she volunteered for an 18-monthlong deployment to Iraq with the Hawaii Army National Guard in 2004; its’ first major deployment since the Vietnam War. Upon returning home, she attended the Alabama Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School, and became the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate in the academy’s 50-year history.

With the current momentum with her, let’s hope she does well, as for a leader of her stature is very rarely seen.