The 2020 US elections are turning historic for the Indian-American community, marking a first for the community in many instances. More than a dozen Indian-American people have won the elections, among those who won, six elected candidates are women. These six women elected to state legislatures are Jenifer Rajkumar to the New York State Assembly, Nima Kulkarni to the Kentucky State House, Kesha Ram to the Vermont State Senate, Vandana Slatter to the Washington State House, Padma Kuppa to the Michigan State House and Pramila Jayapal to the Washington statehouse.
Here’s what you need to know about them:
- Jenifer Rajkumar: Rajkumar is an Indian-American attorney and politician. She recently became the first South Asian woman to be elected to the New York State Assembly. The 38-year-old Indian-American lawyer is a Democrat and defeated her Republican rival Giovanni Perna in the 2020 elections. In 2011, Rajkumar was elected as the District Leader of the 65th District of the New York State Assembly, making her the first Indian-American woman to hold the profile. Since then, she has been re-elected to the same position twice in 2013 and 2015.
- Nima Kulkarni: Kulkarni is an immigration attorney and belongs to the Democratic party. A member of the Kentucky House of Representatives she has been representing District 40 since 2019 after defeating incumbent Dennis Horlander of the Democratic party who was representing District 40 since 1997. In the 2020 elections, she has been elected to the Kentucky State House again. Nima Kulkarni became the first Indian-American to be elected as a state representative in Kentucky.
- Kesha Ram: Ram is an Indian-American politician and has served the Vermont House of Representatives from 2009 to 2016. In the 2020 elections, Ram who belongs to the Democratic party and has been elected to the Vermont Senate, making her the first woman of colour elected to the Vermont Senate. During her early career, she was the youngest member of the House of Representatives and the youngest legislator serving at the time nationally. Kesha Ram is still the youngest Indian American to serve in state elected office.
- Vandana Slatter: Slatter is a politician, pharmacist, and a scientist. She has been serving as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives from the 48th district since 2017. In the 2020 elections, she has been re-elected as the State Representative of District 48. During her early career, she was elected as a Bellevue City Council member in 2015. While pursuing Masters of Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance she worked in the office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell.
- Padma Kuppa: Kuppa is an Indian American Democrat and is a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from the 41st district, which includes the city of Troy. In the recent elections, she has been re-elected to hold the same position. Padma Kuppa is the first Indian immigrant and Hindu in the Michigan Legislature. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Warangal in India, and moved to the United States for Graduate School. She is also a former engineer for Chrysler Corp and the city of Troy.
- Pramila Jayapal: Jayapal belongs to the Democratic party and won the election by defeating Republican Craig Keller by a massive 70 percentage points in the Seventh Congressional District of Washington State. She received 344,541 votes against just 61,940 for Keller. Pramila Jayapal is an Indian American Congresswoman and has been re-elected to the US House of Representatives for the third consecutive term. In 2016, Jayapal became the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives.
Arunima Sharma is an intern with SheThePeople.TV