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The quiet Republican

During the run-up event to the Republican National Convention in New York in September 2004, the founder and chairman of the Indian American Republican Council, Dr Raghavendra Vijayanagar described Dr Zachariah P Zachariah as 'the most influential, hardworking Indian American Republican recognized all over the United States of America.'

This was no hyperbole. For more than two decades, there has been no Indian American Republican
in his words
'To be really effective, you have to go out and touch the mainstream. The Indian-American community is still comparatively small and slowly appreciating the values of fundraisers. It is imperative that we not only raise funds in our own communities, but spend more time 'mainstreaming'.'
who has exercised more influence and been a regular feature in the upper echelons of the GOP hierarchy than the Fort Lauderdale cardiologist.

His close relationship with the Bush family goes back more than two decades when he co-chaired the national finance committee for the Bush-Quayle 1988 and Bush-Quayle 1992 Presidential campaigns. Since his fundraising prowess was recognized, he has been courted by the Republican leadership and been on the invite list of GOP governors and Presidents. He has been an honored guest at White House banquets more than any other Indian American, Republican or Democrat. During the erstwhile administration of the President's younger brother Jeb Bush as governor of Florida, Zachariah was appointed to every conceivable influential board and commission, from the state board of medicine to the board of governors of the state.

Every four years, when the Republican National Convention rolls around, the Trivandrum-born Zachariah is invited by the governor of Florida to be a delegate-at-large, an honor reserved for the state's most influential Republicans. In 2004, the honor of hosting the final fundraiser for the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign was accorded to Zachariah and he didn't disappoint. With former President George H W Bush, and Jeb Bush as headliners, the fundraiser was attended by over 200 guests and raised over $1.2 million.

A senior position in the Republican administration could have been Zachariah's for the asking, but he opted to be a behind-the-scenes rainmaker and has taken on only voluntary positions, the last being on the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Beyond his avatar as a top GOP fundraiser, he is also a philanthropist and has been regularly felicitated by the American Heart Association for his generous contributions. In 2000, he donated nearly $2 million to help build a new Heart and Vascular Center at the Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale.