Indianapolis, IN. Voters in Indiana are heading to their polling places today in what looks like numbers equal to the interest garnered by a general election not simply a primary contest, and their votes cast will be more relevant than they have been for decades. The unusual enthusiasm evidenced by all Hoosiers is reflected in the Indian-American community here as well. Since the Pennsylvania primary on April 22nd, support of all kinds within the Indian-American community for the Democratic contenders has surged ever higher.
"Indiana is probably not one of the first states that most people would associate with Indian-Americans and it is not home to one of the larger groupings in sheer numbers nationally, however, proportionately-speaking they are very involved and engaged in the political process and this is well-known by Indiana activists and politicians," says Michael Taylor, Director of Government Affairs, US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC).
With the Republican nomination process all but officially settled, it would be easy to conclude that the Indian-American community's involvement and engagement is one-sided in Indiana, but as Congressman Mark Souder (R-IN-3) - a Member of the House Committees on Education and Labor, Homeland Security, and Oversight and Government Reform, and a Member of the House India Caucus - points out this is not the case.
"Northeast Indiana is home to a large number of Indian Americans who are especially prominent in the fields of medicine, engineering and business. This community is also heavily involved politically, and four years ago I was proud to join them in welcoming my friend Bobby Jindal, now the Governor of Louisiana, to Fort Wayne."
This bipartisan political involvement and engagement is clearly one of the primary contributing factors to the Indian-American community becoming such a target for outreach by all candidates for elected office throughout the U.S. Other primary contributing factors include the socioeconomic positions Indian-Americans occupy here and a keen understanding of a citizen's civic responsibility within a democracy.
Between the two of them, the states holding contests today - Indiana and North Carolina - have at stake 187 pledged delegates to the August 25-28 Democratic National Convention in Denver -72 from Indiana and 115 from North Carolina. Combined they represent the last such high number of delegates in play in the nominating process. With Senator Obama currently leading Senator Clinton in total delegates by 1,745 to 1,608, according to an Associated Press tally, and with 2,025 delegate votes needed to secure the nomination, no matter what the result today the process will not be decided until the August convention.
The US-India Political Action Committee (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.