Congressional Black Caucus chair Karen Bass is also in contention.
When Kamala Harris is sworn in as the Vice President of the United States on January 20, the Indian American community will lose its lone representation in the U.S. Senate. California Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint a new junior senator from the state once Harris moves to the other side of Pennsylvania Ave.
Among several names that are being touted in political circles to fill the seat is Indian American Ro Khanna, who represents the state’s 17th congressional district.
An Indian American group has already started lobbying for Khanna, who will begin his third term in January.
Neil Makhija, Executive Director of IMPACT, an Indian American advocacy and political action committee, urged Newsom to consider Khanna as Harris’ replacement. “[Khanna] has the essential qualities to meet this moment: At a time when we are deeply divided, Ro has demonstrated an ability to bring together progressives, moderates, and even some Republicans,” Makhija said in a statement issued on Thursday.
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“At a time when we need to ‘build back better,’ Ro brings a depth of expertise in manufacturing and tech. At a time when we face a soaring public health crisis, Ro has been a fierce advocate for universal, high-quality health care. Inspired to public service by his grandfather’s experience as a freedom fighter in India alongside Mahatma Gandhi, Ro will relentlessly defend our democratic values.”
Makhija added, “As an Indian American, Ro also represents the fastest growing community in California. As millions of Black and Brown children around the country see the promise of America in the new Vice President-elect, her replacement should offer the same hope and representation for Californians.”
Khanna is a progressive Democrat who co-chaired the national campaign of Bernie Sanders,
Also in contention is Khanna’s colleague from California’s congressional delegation, Rep. Karen Bass, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. Bass, who was considered by Biden as his running mate before he chose Harris, is reportedly close to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
While Harris was the lone Indian American representative in the Senate, she was the only woman representative in the upper chamber for the African American community. African American women played a crucial role in the victory of Biden and Harris on November 3.