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”.
"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.
"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.”
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