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Obama backs Indian-American for Illinois Comptroller

August 14, 2009 02:51 IST

Indian-American Raja Krishnamoorthi, running for office of the Illinois Comptroller in 2010, has got a piece of advice from "close friend and mentor" President Barack Obama-- to "campaign honourably" for the post! Krishnamoorthi met Obama a fortnight ago in the Oval Office and informed him about his decision to run for the office of Comptroller, the state's chief fiscal officer.

"The President was very happy to learn of my plans to run for the post and advised me to campaign honourably in all parts of the state. He told me to keep in mind the substance of the office and not take it as a popularity contest," Krishnamoorthi told PTI in Chicago. Krishnamoorthi, a former campaign adviser for Obama, was told by the President that "the office of the Comptroller is an important one, which cannot be taken lightly and I need to take a stand on policy matters". The former Deputy Illinois State Treasurer recalls that as he reached the Oval Office, the President "called out my name 'Raja' and gave me a hug". The one-on-one meeting lasted about 15-20 minutes. Krishnamoorthi said he felt "encouraged" that Obama "made time" to meet him. The meeting reminded Krishnamoorthi of the "talks he used to have with Obama at his dining table in his house in Peoria almost a decade ago".   

Referring to Obama as a "mentor, role model and inspiration" Krishnamoorthi said he decided to run for Comptroller as he wants to bring change in the state "just as Obama has brought change in Washington". "The reason I decided to run for the post is that the state is in a financial and ethical crisis and I want to change this," he said.
If elected, he would be the first Asian-American to hold the state office. "We are trying to break some barriers and
continue to diversify our state," he added.Krishnamoorthi has received support for his bid from important political figures in the state, including Sheila Simon, professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law and former member of the Illinois Reform Commission. He has also raised about USD 400,000 for the campaign.

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