Washington: Sixty years after Dalip Singh Saund
created history to become the first Indian American to be elected
to the US Congress, California physician Ami Bera repeated the
feat in a tight race.
Democrat Bera's victory Thursday over sitting Republican Dan
Lungren nine days after the election makes the son of Indian
immigrants just the third Indian American elected to the House of
Representatives, after Saund in 1952 and Louisiana Governor Bobby
Jindal, who won a House seat in 2004.
Bera, 45, defeated Lungren 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent in his
second attempt after having failed to unseat the Republican two
Bera, from Elk Grove, led three-term Republican lawmaker Lungren
by 184 votes on Nov 6 election night. His lead grew to about 3,800
votes on Tuesday and swelled to almost 5,700 votes on Thursday,
according to the latest vote count.
The race was to fill California's 7th District Congressional seat
representing the suburbs of Sacramento.
"It will be an honour to serve Sacramento County in Congress,"
said Bera after his victory.
"Now is the time to find common ground and move forward to rebuild
an economy that works for the middle class. Congressman Lungren
deserves our appreciation for his long record of public service."
Bera, who was raised in La Palma, California, has a bachelor's
degree in biological sciences from the University of California at
Irvine, earning his MD there in 1991.
He served as Associate Dean for Admissions at the UC Davis School
of Medicine and later as the Chief Medical Officer for the County
Bera has cited health care, education and economic recovery among
his top legislative priorities.
Bera attended freshman orientation as congressman-elect, even
while votes were still being counted. Candidates in these tight
races are commonly invited to the orientation by the Committee on
House Administration, which is overseen by Bera's opponent,
Bera and his wife, Janine, have one child, a daughter. They reside
in Elk Grove, California.
Five other Indian-Americans lost their Congressional races. But
Tulsi Gabbard became the first Hindu American and one of the first
female combat veterans in the US Congress with her victory in
Hawaii's 2nd congressional district.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)