John Podesta, Neera Tanden attend “Indian Americans for Hillary Clinton” launch event.
Indian Americans supporters of Hillary Clinton have launched a nationwide a grassroots political organization to help elect the former first lady and secretary of state president of the United States.
The organization, Indian Americans for Hillary Clinton (IAFHC), was launched on April 24 at an event held at Montgomery College in Germantown, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.
The inaugural event was attended by John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, and Neera Tandon, president of the liberal Washington think tank Center for American Progress.
The new group will mobilize the Indian Americans in potential swing states, said Rajan Natarajan, a former Maryland deputy secretary of state and one of the founders of the group.
The community, which makes up 1 percent of the total US population, has significant presence in many swing states, including Florida, Virginia and Ohio, where it could very well play a deciding factor in the general election.
Describing Clinton as someone “who will keep us safe” and “unite the country,” Podesta said, “She has the grit to do the job of president of the United States.”
In his speech and later speaking to reporters after the event, Podesta repeatedly stressed Clinton’s decades-long ties to India and Indian Americans. The former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton even hinted that one could see many Indian Americans in a potential Hillary Clinton administration.
“[As] Senator and as Secretary she showed that commitment by appointing Indian-Americans to positions of responsibilities and I think you should expect that as president of the United States,” he said.
Tandon, who has worked with Clinton for nearly a decade and a half, echoed the same. “In every position that Hillary has ever held as First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, she has always had Indian Americans,” she said. “I am sure she will recognize the talents of the Indian American community because she has already done that in the past.”
Other speakers included Rep. John Sarbanes, D-MD, and Devang Shah, a cofounder of IAFHC and prominent Washington area lawyer.
“Having the National Chair of the Hillary Clinton campaign personally appear at the event is sign of the respect for our community and the political coming of age of Indian Americans in the United States,” Shah wrote in an email on Monday.
The inaugural event was attended by, among others, top Indian American Democratic Party donor Frank Islam and Maryland Del. Aruna Miller.
(This story was updated.)