Indian Americans have made a notable impact on the political landscape of the United States, bringing their unique perspectives, diverse backgrounds, and rich cultural heritage to the forefront of American politics. From local government to the highest echelons of power, Indian American politicians have played significant roles in shaping policies, championing social justice issues, and breaking barriers in political representation.
In this introduction, we will explore the achievements and contributions of Indian American politicians you should know about, highlighting their trailblazing journeys, policy priorities, and the influence they wield in American politics.
10 Indian American Politicians You Should Know About
1. Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris made history as the first woman, first African American, and first Indian American to serve as Vice President of the United States. Before becoming vice president, she had a distinguished career as a prosecutor, serving as the Attorney General of California and a U.S. Senator from California. Harris is known for her advocacy on criminal justice reform, women’s rights, and healthcare access.
2. Bobby Jindal
Bobby Jindal served as the Governor of Louisiana from 2008 to 2016. He is known for being the first Indian American to be elected as a governor in the United States. Jindal has been an influential figure in the Republican Party and has focused on issues such as education reform, economic development, and healthcare during his tenure.
3. Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018. Prior to her ambassadorship, she was the Governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017, making her the first female and first Indian American governor of the state. Haley is recognized for her strong stance on international relations and has been a prominent voice within the Republican Party.
4. Pramila Jayapal
Representative Pramila Jayapal represents Washington’s 7th congressional district. She is a social justice activist and a leader in the progressive movement. Jayapal has taken a strong stance on a number of issues, including immigration rights, healthcare, and wealth inequality. She participated actively in forming progressive policies as a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
5. Ro Khanna
Ro Khanna represents California’s 17th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been a vocal advocate for issues such as economic inequality, technology, and climate change. Khanna is known for his efforts to promote fair trade, increase infrastructure investments, and support job creation in his district.
6. Ami Bera
Since 2013, Ami Bera has held the position of U.S. Representative representing California’s 7th congressional district. He has been in Congress the longest of any Indian American. Access to healthcare, education, and job creation has been the focus of Bera. He has participated in bicameral initiatives to solve problems including immigration reform and the expansion of the Affordable Care Act.
7. Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard served as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district from 2013 to 2021. She made history as the first Hindu member of Congress. Gabbard is known for her military service and has been a strong advocate for veterans’ rights and ending foreign wars. She has also been vocal on issues such as climate change and criminal justice reform.
8. Hiral Tipirneni:
An Indian American doctor and politician named Hiral Tipirneni has stood for office in Arizona’s 8th and 6th congressional districts. In her campaigns, she has placed a strong emphasis on economic development, education, and healthcare accessibility.
9. Raja Krishnamoorthi
Raja Krishnamoorthi is the U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 8th congressional district. He has been a strong advocate for job creation, access to affordable healthcare, and improving education. Krishnamoorthi has focused on issues such as economic development, consumer protection, and small business growth during his time in Congress.
10. Andy Kim:
Andy Kim represents New Jersey’s 3rd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the first Asian American to represent New Jersey in Congress. Kim has prioritized issues such as national security, healthcare, and infrastructure.
These leaders from the Indian American community have significantly influenced American politics and paved the way for future Indian-Americans to work in government. Their accomplishments demonstrate how inclusive and diverse the American political scene is.