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Leading Indian Americans From NE Attend Kerry Fundraiser In Boston

Ranjani Saigal

The torrential rains did not deter a crowd of over 3300 Kerry supporters who came to attend the fundraising gala held at the Sheraton hotel in Boston, MA organized by the Kerry campaign. The event was the largest political fundraiser in the history of Massachusetts.

"We're not just here tonight to raise money," Kerry told the group that collectively raised $4 million for Kerry's campaign and $1 million for the Democratic National Committee. "We're here to mark the beginning of the end of the Bush administration." He was joined on stage by by his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. The crowd included Democratic activists, members of the Massachusetts congressional and legislative delegations, as well as Cambridge native and actor Ben Affleck; Seth Meyers, the comedian who plays Kerry on TV's "Saturday Night Live;" and Sam Poulton of Chelmsford, an Army reservist and longtime Democrat who just returned from 13 months in Iraq.

Several members of the Indian-American community including Deepti and Vineet Nijhawan (President-Elect of TiE-Boston), Neelima and Samer Desai (President, Aditi Inc.), Susan and Ramesh Kapur (President of Medtech Gases and long time supporter of the Democratic party), Nishith Acharya (CEO of YTE), Dr. Dinesh Patel (Chief of Anthroscopic Surgery, Mass General Hospital), Sadhana Upadhyay (former co-chair of the Concord Democratic town committee), Triveni Upadhyay(President, Mayflower Communications), Dr. Shobha Sequeira; Dr. Rangnath Nayak (Partner, Fourth Wave BPO); Ashok Kalelkar (Venture Partner Seed Capital Ventures) Gail Ahluwalia;, Rakesh Kamdar (Founder, DB Healthcare, Inc.), Monami Roy, Dr. Rashmi Shah, Ram Sudi Reddy, Drs. Victor and Janine Saldhana and Raj Sharma attended the event.

The crowd also included younger generation Indian Americans who have helped the campaign by fundraising and providing volunteer support. South Asian students from Harvard, MIT and Tufts were also there to support Kerry. Vijay Mohta (Harvard) , Meena Sharma (Tufts) Mekhail Anwar (MIT) and a few high school students were part of the group.

Some members of the Indian American community shared their reasons for supporting Kerry with Lokvani. Everyone agreed that the most important reason to vote for Kerry was the fact that Indian Americans will hold positions of importance in his administration. "As you well know no issue is black and white. Everything is grey. A President needs be able to work out compromises. Whatever these compromises, with Kerry at the helm, Indian Americans will have a chance to be at the head table. We do not have this opportunity under the current administration. So if we want our issues to be addressed we must vote for Kerry," said Ramesh Kapur who has been actively involved for over twenty years in the political arena. Here are some specific quotes from the supporters.

“Kerry has reached out to the Indian American community long before it was fashionable to do so. He has visited India. He has sponsored legislation to prevent terrorism and money laundering. Under his leadership there is a good possibility that Indian-Americans will have greater involvement in the government” - Nishith Acharya, elected member, Democratic State Committee.

“I have known Kerry for a long time. He is a centrist. We as a community believe in balancing our budget. Kerry will certainly try to do this for our country. Legal immigration is our second big issue. Kerry is a strong supporter of the family reunification act. He is also a firm believer in social justice, another important issue for minorities. He will appoint supreme court justices who will support him in this effort”.

On outsourcing, trade with India and support for small businesses, “He is not against trade with India. I was a member of the business delegation that went with Kerry to India in the early 90’s. His is not against outsourcing. He only wants to plug tax loopholes. Currently corporations can take advantage of tax deferrals for money made overseas, as long as the money is kept overseas. Kerry proposes forcing companies to pay the same tax rate for money made overseas as they pay in the United States. The tax reform would apply only to U.S.-owned factories that import those foreign-made products to the U.S.

I wouild like to add that many Indian Americans have also had their jobs outsourced to India and have suffered for it.“

"Kerry will be a great support for small businesses especially in the area of health care and workman compensation.”
- Samir Desai, President, Aditi Inc.

"Kerry's experience and statesmanship makes him the right candidate for the job.I think the current situation with Iraq happened because we have a President who lacks experience.” - Sadhana Upadhyay, Former Co-Chair of the Democratic Town Committee.

"I think our foreign relations are really strained now. We need a President who can mend it. I think Kerry is the person who can improve our relations with other countries" - Meena Sharma Student (Tufts University), intern working with the Kerry campaign.

"If Kerry gets elected, the Indian American community stands to gain. He is the first Senator who in 1990 took a business delegation to India. If he gets elected he is sure to put Indian Americans in position of power where they can contribute to many important decision making processes. This is crucial.”

On the issue of higher taxes "Kerry is strongly in favor of a balanced budget. Would you like to have your children inherit your debt? This is what will happen if we let the deficit remain.”

On limiting liabilities for medical/business malpractice suits - "I do not see a real need for this. I think these provisions ensure that doctors and business professional are careful when they do their work. I think this law to limit liabilities does not help anyone. The California legislation limits liabilities, but that has not brought the insurance costs down.

"Kerry is also in favor of forcing arbitration prior to litigation and I think this will help tremendously.”
- Ramesh Kapur, President, Medtech Gases.

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