Indian American Impact Fund Announces 2018 State and Local Endorsements

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Indian American Impact Fund (“Impact Fund”) endorsed five additional candidates for state and local office:

  • Josh Kaul for Attorney General of Wisconsin. Josh is a former federal prosecutor who has worked on significant voting-rights cases. In one of the most closely watched races for state Attorney General in the country in 2018, Josh's campaign has focused on addressing the opioid epidemic, the importance of ending Wisconsin's backlog of untested rape kits, protecting Wisconsin families from consumer fraud and polluters, and the need for an AG who is independent and a watchdog for Wisconsinites.

  • Padma Kuppa for Michigan State House, District 41. An engineer, mother, and activist, Padma has been a prominent community leader in Southeastern Michigan for the past twenty years. In 2015, Padma was appointed to the Troy Planning Commission and subsequently elected to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Padma is running with strong support from local elected officials in a district with a large Indian American population where the most spoken minority language is Telugu, her mother tongue.

  • Samir Paul for Maryland House of Delegates, District 16. After graduating from Harvard University and working at IBM and for the 2012 Obama re-election campaign, Samir returned home to Maryland toteach computer science in his former high school. As Montgomery County’s 2016 Rising Star Teacher of the Year, he modernized his school's CS curriculum and helped pass a state law that would bring computer science classes to every high school in Maryland. Now, Samir is running for the state House of Delegates to give his students the same opportunities he enjoyed.

  • Ashwani Jain for Montgomery County (Maryland) Council, At-Large. A first generation Indian American, son of small business owners, 15 year cancer survivor, and alum of the Obama White House, Ashwani is running a highly competitive campaign for Montgomery County Council. Backed by a broad coalition of supporters, including former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Ashwani is positioned to be the youngest person, the first Asian American, and first Indian American to ever serve on the Montgomery County Council.

  • Susheela Jayapal for Multnomah County (Oregon) Commission, District 2. An attorney by training, Susheela previously served as General Counsel of adidas America, where she worked to improve conditions at factories in Southeast Asia. Earlier in her legal career, she represented the government in suing corrupt and negligent bank officers, and provided free legal services to people seeking asylum. She has spent more than 15 years as a community advocate, and when elected, she will be the first Indian American to hold public office in the state of Oregon.

“As a former state legislator, I know firsthand that state and local elected officials can have a powerful impact on the lives of their constituents,” said Raj Goyle, co-founder of Impact and a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives. “Supporting talented down-ballot candidates like these doesn’t just lead to good policy; it’s also good politics. This is how we build a bench of future national leaders.”

These five state and local candidate endorsements are in addition to Impact Fund’s earlier endorsement of Ram Villivalam for Illinois State Senate. Beyond endorsing Villivalam, Impact Fund also invested resources to help his campaign engage and turn out Indian American voters. On March 6th, Villivalam decisively won his primary election; and since he is unopposed in November’s general election, is positioned to be the first Indian American to ever serve in the Illinois state legislature.

“From coast to coast, Indian Americans are stepping up to run for office and serve their fellow Americans,” said Deepak Raj, co-founder of Impact and chair of the Impact Fund. “These five candidates represent the breadth and depth of talent in our community, and Impact Fund is proud to stand with them.”

A political action committee, Impact Fund works with experienced operatives, campaign strategists, and donors to endorse candidates based on their viability and commitment to advocating for the needs and values of the Indian American community. Impact Fund continues to track over 80 Indian Americans running for office in 2018 and will issue further endorsements in coming months.