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US lawmakers congratulate Jindal

October 23, 2007 08:52 IST

Congressman Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican and the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, was the first one to take to the House floor to congratulate Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal on his election as the next Governor of Louisiana.

Wilson was the only Congressional colleague of Jindal's who went to Louisiana to help in his campaign. He also attended a rally in New Orleans the day before the election on October 20.

"Mr Speaker, I rise today to congratulate our colleague, Bobby Jindal, who on Saturday was elected to serve as the next governor for the State of Louisiana," Wilson said on the House floor: "Republican Governor-elect Jindal successfully defeated 11 opponents to become the youngest sitting governor in America," he pointed out.

Wilson, in his one-minute speech, which allows US lawmakers to speak on any subject at the outset of the daily legislative session of the House and before the business of the day begins, noted, "The son of immigrants, Bobby has built a reputation as a hard worker and dedicated public servant."

He added, "As a fellow member of Congress, I have had the opportunity to work with Bobby, and I know from his representation here in Washington and his years of service to the citizens of his state that the people of Louisiana have elected a strong leader."

Wilson also congratulated Jindal's wife Supriya, his staff and family for "this wonderful victory."

He said that as the GOP co-chair of the India Caucus and a strong supporter of the Indian American community, "I am grateful for Bobby's success and praise him for being the first Indian American Governor in our nation's history."

Wilson told rediff.com that he was "excited that Bobby will be our nation's first Indian American elected as Governor." He added that he was a close friend and colleague of Jindal's and he had the opportunity, "to see first hand the quality of leadership that Bobby will bring to the needs and concerns of the people of the state of Louisiana."

Meanwhile, Congressman Mike Honda, a Democrat from California and the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, issued a statement applauding Jindal's victory on behalf of the CAPAC. "His success in the political sphere is truly an inspiring American story," said Honda.

Honda also noted that Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants, had "pursued the American dream and is the first person of Indian descent to serve as governor of a state, and the first minority governor of Louisiana since Reconstruction."

"These are great accomplishments," said Honda, a Japanese American lawmaker, "and Louisiana needs a strong leader."

But Honda noted that "there is much work to be done in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as many communities, including immigrant and refugee communitues, are still struggling in the areas of community and economic development."

"Particularly vital is access to culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services. On behalf of CAPAC, I look forward to his leadership in these areas," he said.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington