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Updated: November 7, 2012 00:21 IST

"Change only through different ideas"

Narayan Lakshman
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Ami Bera at his campaign office in Elk Grove, California, in this recent photo.
AP
Ami Bera at his campaign office in Elk Grove, California, in this recent photo.

Indian-American doctor Ami Bera on his run for Congress

With all eyes on the presidential elections, little attention has been paid to the elections for 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and a third of the Senates seats.

Among those in the reckoning are six Indian-Americans, and one of them — a doctor from California who is proud of his Indian roots — has won the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton. Meet Ami Bera, Democratic Party candidate from California’s Seventh Congressional District with “the best chances to win the Congressional elections”.

Speaking to The Hindu on Election Day eve, Dr. Bera said he viewed this as an opportunity to rebuild communities for the next generation. His focus would be on education and youth employment. He attributes his commitment to education and the youth to his Indian roots, particularly values instilled in him by his parents, who emigrated to the U.S. from Gujarat in the 1950s.

Commenting on comprehensive immigration reform, a likely policy thrust under a second Obama administration, he said: “As the son of immigrants it is clear to me that we need an immigration policy that helps move our economy forward.”

India is close to his heart in this context, he said. “We want the best and brightest of Indians to come here and study, and after that they should have the option to take the path to obtaining a green card, and contributing to this economy.”

While visa questions have sometimes led to partisan bickering, Dr. Bera stressed the need for a bipartisan approach to creating an immigration policy that would permit, for example, technology companies to truly add value to the U.S. economy.

How does he propose to make a difference in a House that promises to be dominated by an entrenched Republican opposition? “Most Americans are frustrated by what they see in the House of Representatives”, Dr. Bera said.

“Change will come from presenting different ideas and learning to compromise.”

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