WASHINGTON (TIP): Dr Ami Bera becomes the third Indian-American ever to be elected to the US House of Representatives, after Dalip Singh Saund, elected in 1950’s and Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal who was a House member from 2005 to 2008. Bera, 45, had a lead of just 184 votes against his Republican rival and incumbent Dan Lungren, when all the votes were counted for the Seventh Congressional District in California. But the Secretary of State, California put the results in the category of “Close Contest”, in which there is less than a two per cent difference between the first and second place for candidates or between yes and no votes for ballot measures.
According to the Office of the Secretary of State, California, Bera had received 50.1 per cent of the total votes counted, while Lungren had received 49.9 per cent of the votes. Bera received 88,406 votes, while Lungren got 88,222 votes. Bera whose parents migrated to the US some 50 years ago was endorsed by charismatic Bill Clinton, the former US president, last month who campaigned for him. Bera had outraised his opponent in fund raising.
Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Bera served Sacramento County as Chief Medical Officer before becoming a Clinical Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Admissions and Outreach at UC Davis. Ami and his wife Janine live in Elk Grove with their daughter, Sydra. Tulsi Gabbard is the first Indian American woman and the first Hindu woman to win an election to House of Representatives. 31-year-old Gabbard defeated K. Crowley of the Republican Party with a handsome margin in Hawaii’s second Congressional district. Her victory has been cheered by the Hindu-American community across the country. The heavily Democratic district also elected one of two Buddhists to have ever served in the Congress, Mazie Hirono, who won her seat in 2006 but is now running for the US Senate.
Born in American Samoa to a Catholic father and a Hindu mother, Gabbard moved to Hawaii when she was two
In 2002, at age 21, she was elected to the Hawaii state legislature. The next year, she joined the Hawaii National Guard, and in 2004 was deployed to Baghdad as a medical operations specialist. After completing officers’ training, she was deployed to Kuwait in 2008 to train the country’s counterterrorism units. “Although there are not very many Hindus in Hawaii, I never felt discriminated against.
I never really gave it a second thought growing up that any other reality existed, or that it was not the same everywhere,” Gabbard said in a statement soon after she took an unbeatable lead over her Republican challenger. “On my last trip to the mainland, I met a man who told me that his teenage daughter felt embarrassed about her faith, but after meeting me, she’s no longer feeling that way,” Gabbard said.
“He was so happy that my being elected to Congress would give hope to hundreds and thousands of young Hindus in America, that they can be open about their faith, and even run for office, without fear of being discriminated against or attacked because of their religion,” Gabbard said. At 21, Gabbard became the youngest person elected to the Hawaii legislature.
At 23, she was the state’s first elected official to voluntarily resign to go to war. At 28, she was the first woman to be presented with an award by the Kuwait Army National Guard. She is a deeply committed Vaishnava Hindu who is a strict vegetarian and is very knowledgeable about the Bhagavad Gita. She has also served with distinction as an officer of the US Army – twice, in Iraq and Kuwait.