Two Indian Americans are among the more than half a dozen Democrats vying to unseat GOP Rep. Don Donavan in New York’s 11th congressional district.
Omar Vaid and Radhakrishna Mohan are seeking their party’s nomination from the only New City congressional district that is currently held by the Republicans. The primary in New York is scheduled for June 26th. The 11th district is one of the least demographically diverse congressional districts in Big Apple. Nearly three fourths of the population is white.
It is also the second congressional district in the country where at least two Indian Americans are running against each other in the primaries. In the Illinois 8th, two Indian Americans are running for the GOP nomination to take on incumbent Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who is also an Indian American.
As The American Bazaar reported, a record 19 Indian Americans are running for Congress this year.
Vaid, whose parents came to the United States from Gujarat, is a strong advocate of the rights of immigrants and unions. He believes “that both immigrants and unions make America stronger,” according to his website.
He grew up in Illinois and Florida, and moved to New York City after earning a bachelor’s degree in business management to launch his career in the movie industry.
Vaid works on both props and set decoration for New York productions. So far he has worked on TV shows such as “Luke Cage” and “The Get Down.”
He has been a union member since joining the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 52, in 2009.
Information technology specialist Radhakrishna Mohan, who moved to the United States from India in 1989, has been an employee of the state of New York for the past 28 years. The New York State Insurance Fund employee also serves as an executive board member of chair of workers’ compensation statewide committee.
He has a master’s degree in economics and a degree in mathematics and statistics and an associate degree in computer science.
Like Vaid, Mohan is also a union activist and leader.
He says on his campaign website that he successfully introduced telecommuting in the workplace and had his joint motion passed at the PEF convention to mandate equal time off for NY State female employees, which is now awaiting passage in the state legislature.
Mohan advocates workers comp benefits and opposes privatization of state government jobs.
Vaid proposes affordable education, better transportation, stern action to fight climate change, quality Medicare for all, more union jobs and greater workers’ rights.
“It is no secret that today in America the top 0.1% own as much as the bottom 90%,” he writes on his website. “To make matters worse, 99% of new income goes to the 0.1%. People rightfully feel the economy is rigged, jobs don’t pay what they used to and unionizing efforts are in decline. It’s time for the billionaires to pay their fair share.”
Vaid believes in a free-market system, but regulated to protect the average citizen from corporate overreach and abuse. “I won’t accept so much as a free meal from a corporate lobbyist,” he says on the campaign website.
“We have the power to change all of this,” says Vaid. “I don’t believe there is any other way forward. We must recalibrate our economy, so the pie begins to grow for everyone. Unity is our way forward. America is the greatest nation on Earth.”
So far Vaid has been running a campaign largely focusing on social media. He has more than 20,000 Twitter followers.
‘Ask not, what your country…’
“Today, I want to serve as your voice on Capitol Hill: a voice that echoes your concerns; a voice that matters; a voice that cares,” Mohan says on his website. “I strongly believe in the famous quote of President John F Kennedy, ‘Ask not, what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.’”
He adds that he wants to play an active role in making the “community, state and country a safer, better place to raise my children, run my business, render service to the community and forge a future filled with unlimited promise and realized potential.”
Other candidates running for the Democratic nomination are Michael DeCillis, Paul Sterling, Max Rose, Zach Emig, and Michael DeVito Jr.
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