Tags: indian | Jindal Nikki | Haley

Indian-Americans Emerge as Force in GOP

Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011 03:14 PM

By Jody Venkatesan

It is an exciting time to be a Republican Indian-American. Over the past few years Indian-Americans have roared onto the scene of Republican Party mainstream in national and state politics with the election of two red state governors: Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Nikki Haley in South Carolina.

Both governors are strong contenders for vice president on the GOP 2012 ticket.

It's easy to see why Indian-Americans have become so visible on the political scene — they are successfully transitioning their everyday belief in freedom, fiscal responsibility and strong family values into grass-roots activism and campaign dollars.

Their values are, of course, the bedrock principles of Reagan Republicanism.

Historically, it seems the Democratic Party has done more outreach to Indian-Americans than their Republican Party counterparts. This is beginning to change, however, with the celebrity status of Jindal and Haley in conservative circles and the growing political clout of Indian-American Republican fundraisers.
RIC meeting image with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
RIC meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Since the 1960s, when immigrants from India arrived in the United States in significant numbers, their formula for success has been an emphasis on advanced education, English language, rule of law, entrepreneurial risk taking, strong work ethics, and family values.

They are in almost every town and every city today as business owners, corporate executives, tech CEOs, bankers, and venture capitalists as well as physicians, lawyers, scientists, engineers, and professors.

Indeed, as America continues to grapple with historic debts and budget deficits, political activism among Indian-Americans has amplified. They passionately express their concerns to elected leaders that the country they pass onto the next generation must be better than the one they found and that America’s best days lie ahead.

The community’s grass-roots clout in key swing states is not lost on political strategists. But most importantly, the community’s economic affluence is fast becoming a reliable pipeline for campaign dollars for candidates who share their concerns and their aspirations.

The Republican Indian Committee PAC (RIC), founded in Virginia by supporters of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s 2009 campaign, grew in 2010 to five additional state Chapters (Maryland, South Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania).

Plans are underway to form chapters in Texas and Michigan. RIC leadership conducted significant fundraisers, raised between $80,000 to $150,000 per state, which supported the respective campaigns of Nikki Haley, S.C., Tom Corbett, Pa., Rick Scott, Fla, Rick Snyder, Mich., and Bob Ehrlich, Md. RIC leadership has met with Gov. Rick Perry in Austin Texas to pledge support for his 2012 presidential campaign.

Separately, RIC leadership members have also pledged support for Gov. Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. What do young Indian-American Republicans have to say to America? Let’s get to work!

Jody Venkatesan is political director and treasurer for the Republican Indian Committee PAC (www.ricpac.org, info@ricpac.org), a partner and auditor with the Maryland-based Holloway & Company, and founder of Platinum Business Services, Inc. He ran for the state Senate in Maryland in 2010.  He can be reached at jvenkatesan@ricpac.org.

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