Grace Meng, the first Asian-American to enter the US Congress from New York State has promised to join the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans and be a true ally and supporter of India at Capitol Hill.

Meng, who stepped into the shoes of Gary Ackerman, the founder of the India Caucus, said in an interview: “Gary (Ackerman) was a stalwart and he leaves me tremendous shoes to fill. I will work with Indian-Americans in my Congressional district in matters such as medicare, education, job creation and small business and be a voice of the middle-class.”

“The Indian-American community comprises a large part of the State and City electorate and has made significant contributions in many areas — healthcare, small business and law — and they contribute to the vibrant economy of New York and Queens. I am very thankful to the community for their support and will follow the legacy of Gary Ackerman.”

Grace Meng is a Taiwanese American lawyer and a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 22nd assembly district in Flushing, Queens, New York.

“I will join the India Caucus and help Indian-Americans and also work with them to help solve their numerous problems such as issues in running small business, tax issues, taxation on investments in India and other concerns that makes it harder for them to achieve the American dream,” she said.

Heaping praise on the Indian community, she said youngsters in the community are influenced by their parents and elders who invest time and values in them.

“Young Indians are a role model to many communities as they imbibe values and cultures and go to temples, churches and mosques with their parents despite being born and raised here. They study hard, work hard and give back to the community. I am happy more young Indian-Americans are entering politics now,” she said.

About 10 per cent of her constituency consists of Indian-Americans.

“As an assemblywoman I had advocated equal pay for women in the work place and there are many institutions where Indian women occupy top-notch positions such as in universities, hospitals, technology firms but are paid less than their male co-workers.

She said Asians should enter mainstream politics.

“Look at the numbers — there are 435 seats and how many are represented by Asians in Capitol Hill. There are not many Asian faces and this contributes to the anti-Asian sentiment in the Congress blaming countries like India and China for lot of things.

“We need to make them recognise our community. We are as much Americans as they are. Americans are not only those with blonde hair and blue eyes but also we Asians belong to that category.”

More representation at the State and federal levels will decrease a lot of anti-Asian sentiments that have risen unfortunately in many walks of life.

(This article was published on November 9, 2012)
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