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Indian-American Goyle wins primary for Congress polls

August 05, 2010 14:08 IST

Indian-American Raj Goyle has won a primary from Kansas State to bag Democratic Party's nomination for the November Congressional elections, becoming the latest candidate from the community to join the race for the House of Representatives.

While Goyle was expectedly declared elected from the 4th district seat in Kansas after results of the August 3 primaries were out, the major upset of the day was created by Bangladeshi-origin Clarke Hashem Hansen who defeated seven-term Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the 13th district of Michigan.

Flanked by his wife Monica and seven-month-old daughter Ana, State Representative Goyle declared victory before an overflow crowd in Wichita, saying, "I am very humbled and proud to stand before you... as the Democratic Party's nominee for the United States Congress."

Goyle, who has made jobs and the economy his campaign's focus, vowed "to eliminate the tax breaks and loopholes that reward companies for shipping our jobs overseas.

Our own government has been rewarding companies that destroy American jobs. It is just wrong. And it's got to stop."

He also vowed to stop bailouts. "Greedy Wall Street banks and reckless CEOs who break the rules and crash our economy should not be rewarded. Washington politicians have been bailing them out -- with our money -- and it is going to stop. Wall Street bankers who fail us should not get bailouts and bonuses - they should get fired."

Goyle said, "The next Congressman from Kansas' 4th District will have one critical and fundamental responsibility - protect and create Kansas jobs."

The victory of Hansen, some local media outlets said, was a "dynastic" upset.

Hansen's father was Mozaffar Ali Hashem, who was originally from Sridhara village of Beani Bazar in Sylhet in undivided India, which is now in Bangladesh.

Mozaffar, who died when Hansen was just eight years old, migrated to the US in 1930s. His mother, Thelma Clarke, who is of African/Caribbean roots, brought him up in the working class neighbourhood of Detroit where he was born.

"This election is a lot bigger than me and the incumbent. It's about whether taxpayers can control the money that they contribute to Congress," Hansen said in his victory speech. Hansen was elected for three terms to the State House before getting into the State Senate in 2002 from District 1.

Earlier in May, Iraq war veteran Indian American, Manan Trivedi, had won the Democratic Party primary from a Congressional district in Pennsylvania.

A doctor-turned-veteran, Trivedi, 35, defeated Dough Pike, a former local journalist, with a narrow margin of 672 votes, thus earning the right to challenge Republican incumbent Jim Geralch in the November polls.

Another Indian American Ami Bera is the Democratic Party candidate for the Congress in California's 3rd district.

He is running against sitting Republican Congressman, Dan Lundgren.

Ravi Sangisetty is another Indian American to have bagged the Democratic Party nomination for the November Congressional elections from the 3rd District in Louisiana. In May, Surya Yalamanchilli won the Democratic Primary for the US House of Representative in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. Yalamanchili, 28, challenges Congresswoman Jean Schmidt in November for her House seat.

He was one of the youngest brand managers in Proctor and Gamble's history, and gave up employment to run for office full-time on a threadbare campaign out of his condo. This is for the first time that so many Indian-Americans have crossed the primary stage in the battle for the US Congress. So far, only two Indian Americans have made it to the House of Representatives -- Dalip Singh Saund in the 1950s and then Bobby Jindal a few years ago.

Meanwhile, another Indian-American Reshma Saujani is giving a tough fight to veteran fellow Democrat Carolyn Maloney for the primary to be held in September for the Congressional seat from New York's 14th District.

Image: Raj Goyle

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