Tallahassee, FL. All the 2008 presidential campaigns are making significant outreach efforts towards the Indian-American community as evidenced by Senator John McCain's campaign in today's hotly contested Florida primary. Senator McCain told the U.S. India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), "I value the Indian-American community's contributions to our great nation and thank those who have supported me here in Florida."
Senator McCain's outreach in Florida has been growing the campaign reaching Indian-Americans all over the state. "It should no longer come as a surprise that those running for elected office in this country, but most especially those running this year for the presidency, devote a great deal of resources and hard work at communicating to Indian-Americans," says Mr. Sanjay Puri, Chairman of USINPAC. "The Indian-American community is a very prosperous and well educated one that is passionately engaged in the public space and in the American political process."
With the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) punishment of Florida Democrats for violating national party rules, many speculated that turnout would be dampened. With under-the-radar activities in the state by both Clinton and Obama and a significant property tax initiative on the ballot, turnout has already been high. By the end of the weekend, more than 400,000 Democrats had cast early votes. Probably as a consequence of the closeness of the Republican contest, there has been a similarly large turnout among Republicans.
Indian-Americans come from a rich democratic tradition and thus come to the polls. "Being from the largest democracy in the world, the Indian people have a long history with the democratic process and understand the value of their right to vote," says Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-9), a member of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans and the House Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia. "Thus, when it comes to their participation in the election of America's next president, Indian-Americans share in the dual heritage of their ancestors in India and that of their home country here in the United States. Florida's large Indian-American community has an important role to play in this year's Presidential Primaries."
Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL-19), also a member of the Congressional India Caucus and a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, and Financial Services Committees echoes the importance of the Indian-American community in this process, "The Indian-American community is a vital and important force in the American fabric and it is so important that the priorities of this community are felt by elected officials of both political parties." Despite the situation with the DNC, Congressman Wexler concludes with an appeal to participate, "...it is vital that the Indian-American community vote in large numbers in the upcoming Florida primary."
USINPAC is the political voice of 2.5 million Indian-Americans. USINPAC provides bipartisan support to candidates for federal, state and local office who support the issues that are important to the Indian-American community. For more information, go to www.usinpac.com.