Susheela Jayapal first Indian American woman to hold Oregon county office

Susheela Jayapal
Susheela Jayapal

Susheela Jayapal, sister of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, was sworn in on Thursday as Multnomah County Commissioner.

It was a historic moment for the Indian American community in Portland, Oregon, when Susheela Jayapal was sworn in on Thursday as Multnomah County Commissioner.

Jayapal, older sister of Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-WA, succeeded Loretta Smith. She became the first Indian American woman county commissioner in Oregon.

While the new congress is being talked about its unique diversity, Jayapal’s election added even more diversity to the county commission. An all-female panel, it has a diverse set of members from various ethnic backgrounds. Besides Jayapal other members include a Mexican American, Jessica Pederson, and Korean American, Lori Stegmaan.

RELATED: Susheela Jayapal elected as Oregon’s Multnomah County Commissioner (May 16, 2018)

A long-time activist from the community, Jayapal has served in leadership positions of various nonprofits and community groups. After the oath taking ceremony, Jayapal speaking to a large number of people who had come to support her, said that she never planned to run for office, but was moved by the urgency of her region.

“Our economy has been booming, and we all know the adage that says ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’’ she said, “And you all know very well that’s simply not true. For too many in our region, they are drowning in that rising tide, or being pushed farther and farther from shore or, at best, just barely treading water. And those folks who are sinking are being pushed out or just barely keeping afloat, they are disproportionately black or brown, immigrant and refugee. That’s not the kind of place I want to live in.”

Jayapal’s sister, Pramila Jayapal, also took oath as a re-elected member of the Congress on Thursday at the US Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

ALSO READ: More than four-fifths of Indian Americans running for offices this year are Democrats (April 26, 2018)

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