Amit Bera hopes more Indian-Americans will join US politics
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"I am in the Congress today, because I am an Indian American... because of the values of making sure of giving it back to the community, giving back to the country. Those were values that got us here and those are values that are going to propel us forward," said 47-year-old Bera, the Democratic lawmaker from California.
Bera, only the third Indian-American lawmaker ever to be elected to the US Congress, was speaking at a reception hosted by Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao in his honour and that of Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu to be elected to the House.
"We got here, because of the generation that came before us. Now that the door is open, it is our obligation to make sure that we reach back and build that path. Because when I look at the talent in the Indian-American community, it is not
enough that only two of us get elected. It is now about building the path for next generation," he said.
"We are celebrating our election to the Congress today. But I would like to be invited back when we are celebrating several members of the Congress in few years. I would like to come back to this residence (of the Indian Ambassador) when we
are celebrating a Senate election," said Bera, who is the only Indian-American in the current US House of Representatives.
Bera said the strategic partnership between India and the US needs to grow stronger - between the world's oldest and largest democracy.
"There is so much that we need to be doing together as we move forward in the 21st century," he said.
He and Tulsi are on the House Foreign RelationsCommittee and on its subcommittee on Asia Pacific.
Welcoming Bera and Gabbard at the reception, Ambassador Rao said Bera's story is truly inspiring and epitomizes the American dream.
"Today the Indian American community stands on the cutting edge of excellence in American eyes, they are leaders in science and medicine, education, entertainment and the arts and of course in public service," she said. Over the years the United States Congress has played a stellar and defining role in enhancing the spirit and
substance of US India Strategic partnership, she said, adding the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans is the largest country-specific caucus in the Congress.
Vowing to work for India-US relationship, Gabbard said the bilateral relationship between the two countries have never been better as it is now.
"As the world's two largest democracies, we cannot ever forget that the price of our own freedom also means standing for freedom of others. There is much work that lies ahead. We have to do more to empower women and girls. We have to have
honest dialogue about combating violence," she said.
"We have to reform the immigration laws to honor the skills and talents of citizens," Gabbard added.
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