WASHINGTON (TIP): Several Republican lawmakers gathered in Washington, D.C., Tuesday evening to celebrate the launch of the Republican Hindu Coalition, a group dedicated to uniting Indian-Americans in support of Republicans.
The group was founded by Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, a prominent Chicago businessman who has long supported the Republican Party and its candidates and has guaranteed to personally give at least $2 million to GOP candidates in the 2016 election cycle. The Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC) aims to give upwards of $10 million to Republicans running for election in 2016.
Several GOP senators up for reelection next year were present at Tuesday evening’s launch event, which took place at the Hyatt Regency Washington. They included Sens. Ron Johnson (Wisc.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), and Rob Portman (Ohio). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) delivered remarks at the event, thanking Kumar for founding the organization. “The Republican Party is the natural home of people who are in favor of growth and opportunity. The Democrats are the party of big government and debts and taxes and overregulation,” McConnell told the crowd. “So people who are drawn to the private sector will find a home with the Republican Party.”
The event was co-chaired by former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who stated to the crowd that “launching an organization like the RHC could literally change history.” Gingrich noted that the United States and India both face threats from radical jihadists, pointing to threats on India coming from Pakistan.
Several members of the House were also present, including Reps. Ed Royce (Calif.), Peter Roskam (Ill.), and Pete Sessions (Texas).
Sessions, who chairs the House Rules Committee, emphasized the need for the United States to better foster cultural and economic ties with India and particularly for Republicans to work with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I have found that with the election of Prime Minister Modi, his jelling of ideas as to the future of this great nation and the relationship they would share with America would be economic, would be strategic and would be cultural, with the understanding that our two nations have much in common,” the Texas lawmaker said. “We have to engage, create 10 million new jobs with India and American together. If we have to succeed, then we have to partner with Prime Minister Modi.”
The organization was conceived after Kumar witnessed the success of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which fosters ties between the American Jewish population and Republican lawmakers.
“Having watched the Republican Jewish Coalition work to achieve its goals I was inspired to found RHC,” Kumar stated Tuesday. “I went to my friend who I consider to be the smartest man on this earth, Speaker Newt Gingrich. Before I said more than two sentences, he said, ‘Great idea!'”
“A better relationship between India and America would be a recipe for peace and prosperity of the world. It’s a joint venture,” Rep. George Holding (R, N.C.), who co-chairs the Congressional India Caucus, said at the event.