Aurora, Oct 29 – Most Indian Americans vote for the Democratic Party and contest elections on that platform. Bucking this trend, an Indian American is contesting for Illinois State Representative from the 84th district as a Republican.
Indian American candidate seeks to reform education
Krishna Bansal is contesting in President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, a state in which Democrats hold sway.
If he wins, Bansal will be the first Indian American, indeed the first Asian, to be elected to the Illinois house. His constituencies include the western Chicago suburbs of Naperville and Aurora which has a seen a recent influx of affluent, highly educated Indian professionals.
Bansal has been active as a liaison between the administration of these two suburbs with the Indian American community. Thanks to his persistence, the city of Aurora became the first in the United States to appoint an Indian American commission, of which he is the chairperson. The city also became the first in the US to sponsor a Diwali celebration, complete with fireworks.
High on Bansal’s agenda is a reform of the business climate in the state of Illinois. Illinois ranks among the last in the country in job creation, Bansal told IANS in an interview. Even neighbouring Midwest states like Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Texas are prospering, while businesses are moving out of Illinois, slowing job creation.
Illinois’ unemployment rate went up 9.2 percent in July, according to data released by the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). In comparison the national unemployment rate was 7.4 percent.
Echoing the Republican party line, Bansal said that the state needs smaller governments that can be more functional. The government should carry out only those functions that individual and businesses cannot do. If the government gets into the business of running businesses, it becomes socialism.
Bansal runs a successful business, and is an ardent advocate of Indian Americans participating in the political process more vigorously. Although professionally successful, most Indian Americans loath to participate in politics. Bansal has already pledged to donate his entire salary as a legislator to charity, refuse the legislative pension and health care benefits, and also sponsor a bill to limit an Illinois state legislator’s term to eight years in office.
Bansal has resisted pressure from his advisors to change his first name to a shorter ‘Americanized’ name as other Indian American politicians like Nikki Hailey and Bobby Jindal have done.
Bansal laments the fact that Indian institutions like temples are not proactive in the political process. He said that they need to look beyond religious obligations alone.