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Without a Seat at the Table, You're on the Menu: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi on Indian-Americans' Participation in Polls

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorth. (Image credit: Twitter@CongressmanRaja)

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorth. (Image credit: Twitter@CongressmanRaja)

I think that we have to find the boldest common denominator that unites us and work on those priorities first before tackling some of the other issues which obviously deserve attention but might provoke a little more disagreement in terms of the way forward, Krishnamoorthi said.

New York: With an increasing number of people from the Indian-American community playing a significant role in US elections, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said there is a realisation among them that if you don't have a seat at the table, you're on the menu that is why they are voting and running for office in large numbers. We are starting to realise that old adage that if you don't have a seat at the table, you're on the menu, Krishnamoorthi said during a virtual post-election political analysis hosted by leading nonprofit Indian diaspora organisation Indiaspora.

"I think the Indian-Americans realise that neither they nor their families nor their priorities can afford to be on the menu so they're pulling up the proverbial seat to the table. And that means voting, but also running for office.

And so I encourage people to do more of that. Just please don't run in my district against me, he said with a laugh. Amid increased divisiveness across the US, Krishnamoorthi, who won re-election to the US House of Representatives for a third term, said there is need for a "boldest common denominator of crushing the coronavirus and repairing the economy to unite Americans.

I think that we have to find the boldest common denominator that unites us and work on those priorities first before tackling some of the other issues which obviously deserve attention but might provoke a little more disagreement in terms of the way forward, Krishnamoorthi said. Krishnamoorthi was responding to a question by Indiaspora's founder M R Rangaswami on how he hopes to unite his constituents amid the increasing divisiveness being witnessed across the country.

Krishnamoorthi said the boldest common denominator that unites all of us is crushing the virus and developing a safe and effective vaccine that is distributed to everyone as well as repairing the economy and helping struggling businesses and families get through this thing at the same time that we're dealing with the health crisis. Krishnamoorthi stressed that in order to deal with the virus, there is need to take the politicians out of managing organizations like the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Health & Human Services. We need to put the scientists and the health care professionals back in charge, he said.

On the economic front, he said that right after the election, lawmakers will take up the issue of a stimulus package again and hopefully get it past the goal line. Responding to a question on what his priorities will be going forward, Krishnamoorthi said he is the Oversight Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, with direct jurisdiction of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Those agencies have become heavily politicized, he said adding that a big priority for him will be to depoliticise those agencies so that they can do their job and get America out of this pandemic as soon as possible.

The second big priority is to stabilise the economy and help industries that have been decimated by the pandemic, including airlines, hotel and hospitality, restaurant and tourism. They need help now more than ever because we don't want a situation where we basically allow them to die even as we're trying to save the patient so to speak on the operating table, which is the American economy.

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