SACRAMENTO (TIP): When Neel Kashkari announced he was running for governor, he became the latest Californian of Indian descent to step onto the political stage, the most recent example of a rising trend in one of America’s most ethnically diverse states.
Kashkari is part of a surge of second-generation Indians emerging in politics, despite their relatively small population in California. While Sikh Californians have been farming in California’s Central Valley for nearly a century, the last couple of decades have brought a wave of technology workers and entrepreneurs into Silicon Valley, where they have formed a tight-knit, supportive and financially successful community.
Tapping into that donor base will be key to the Republican Kashkari’s campaign, even if many donors will have to cross party lines to support him. The growing roster of candidates and elected officials of Indian descent includes Democrat Ami Bera, a doctor who holds a Sacramento-area congressional seat; Democrat Ro Khanna, who is challenging for another in the San Francisco Bay Area; Vanila Singh, a Republican who recently announced she is entering the same Bay Area race; and Republican Ricky Gill, who attracted millions of dollars from Indian-Americans in the Central Valley before losing a tight congressional race two years ago.