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Indian Army vet is Michigan Democratic Party treasurer

March 17, 2009 23:13 IST

Ramesh Verma has been elected as treasurer of the Michigan Democratic Party. He will oversee finances and supervise the work of the staff dealing with financial affairs of the party.

"The treasurer is also involved in fundraising. The treasurer makes sure that the money is spent legally," said Verma, who served in Indian Army during the Bangladesh war in 1971 as a captain in the Corps of Engineers.

He was elected unopposed at the annual convention at Cobo Hall in Detroit. The elections were and attended by almost 2,000 delegates including United States Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and all Democratic congressmen.

"I enjoy working in politics," Verma said. "Though we have a sizeable number of Indian Americans in the state, we don't have adequate representation in the political field. I hope that will end soon."

He worked as chairman of the Michigan Indo-American Democratic Caucus and has been an officer-at- large for the Michigan Democratic Party since 2003.

"Since 1996, I got involved in Michigan politics and worked for Governor Jennifer Granholm's election campaign. In 2003, Governor Granholm wanted to appoint me in the Office of the Aging as commissioner, which I refused. After two days her appointment director called me and said that the governor wanted me to join as there was no ethnic person in the commission," Verma said.

He agreed to the request. "I represent south Asians in the commission and point out the needs of our people," he said. He was reappointed in 2006 for four more years.

As commissioner, he advises the office of the aging, the governor, and the legislators on matters related to policies and programs for the elderly in Michigan.

The governor also appointed him as a member in the Advisory Council on Asian Pacific American Affairs. Verma was selected as a member of the Oakland County Democratic Party executive board in 2004 and as its officer-at-large in 2006. He was first elected as a precinct delegate in 2006 and 2008.

As a founding member of the Michigan Ethnic American Coalition, he was involved in organising a major fundraiser and rally for Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign.

During Barack Obama's campaign, Verma worked with local Asian-pacific communities and arranged radio interviews with the governor and Lieutenant Governor John Cherry among others.

Verma arrived in the US in 1972. He worked in University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor as director of design, construction and utilities. After his retirement from there, he was hired as director of corporate facilities at the Henry Ford Health System, Detroit for over three years. He began his political career after retirement. He had unsuccessfully contested for Novi city council earlier.

"During the campaign for the election of President Obama, our youngsters were very active," he said. "Their work brings hope to the community."

George Joseph in New York