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Indian-American becomes first South Asian woman to be elected to New York state Assembly

Friday, November 6, 2020 • Tamil Comments

Jenifer Rajkumar, a 38-year-old Indian-American lawyer and an immigrant rights advocate, will represent the 38th Assembly district of New York City in the New York State Assembly, including Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale.

The Stanford graduate has made history by becoming the first South Asian woman to be elected to the New York State Assembly after defeating her Republican counterpart Giovanni Perna. The Indian American Impact Fund tweeted on Wednesday, "Congratulations to @JeniferRajkumar on becoming the first South Asian woman elected to NY state office! Jenifer is a longtime public servant and legal advocate, and we know she'll be a strong advocate for South Asian voices in Albany." Jenifer, who is a lawyer and a professor at the City University of New York, is also a former New York state government official. Regarding her background, Jenifer Rajkumar's campaign website read, "Jenifer is proud to be born and raised in New York, as the first generation American in her family. Her mom was born in a mud hut in India. Her parents immigrated to the United States with just $300 and a suitcase, settling in Queens where they got their start. To honor the promise of a country that gave her family so much opportunity, Jenifer decided to dedicate her life to public service."

Including Jenifer Rajkumar, at least a dozen Indian Americans have won state level elections in the US. Additionally, four Indians, Dr Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, have been elected to the US House of Representatives. Apart from Jenifer, Nima Kulkarni has been elected to the Kentucky State House, Kesha Ram to the Vermont State Senate, Vandana Slatter to the Washington State House and Padma Kuppa to the Michigan State House. Neil Makhija from the Impact Funds, which endorsed a number of Indian American candidates and raised USD 10 million, reportedly said, "This year's election represented a giant leap forward for the Indian Americans' role in US politics. Indian American voters and candidates demonstrated the burgeoning power and influence of this important voting bloc in decisive fashion, which will help make the difference in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania."


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