September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document


Article Order:4

Title:Asian groups support Democrat McCall against Pataki

Author:Shakti Bhatt

Publication:India Abroad

Original Language:English





Body:New York Citys Asian immigrant groups registered a first last week, when they got together to throw their collective weight behind Democratic contender for the New York State gubernatorial race Carl McCall.

Even as McCall closed the gap with incumbent George E. Pataki, the Asian American community in New York City organized a fundraiser in support of the African-American leader. Leaders from the Korean, Chinese, Indian, Filipino and Bangladeshi communities organized the gala Chinese banquet at the Jing Fong restaurant, which is often used for private political parties.

Loida Nicolas Lewis, a Filipino immigrant who runs the largest African American-owned company in the country, hosted the event with an attendance of over a hundred people. Rajiv Gowda, president of South Asians and Caribbeans for Political Progress and chairman of the organizing committee, represented the Indian American community. Also present were Democrats John Albert from Flushing and Taj Rajkumar from Richmond Hill, who were defeated in last months primaries.

The event was important both for the hosts, and the beneficiary. For McCall, it was a way to ensure Asian immigrant votes.

For the Indian Americans pursuing a political voice in the state government, it represented an opportunity to put their resources behind their favored candidate.

Community leader Inderjit Singh, who ran in last years primaries from Richmond Hill, feels that the Democratic Party needs to do more to reach out to the Indian-American community. McCall needs to reach out to the various communities in the city, include them in his campaign and let them take ownership of part of it, said Singh, adding that McCall faced an uphill task in the November election.

As McCall stepped onstage to a standing ovation, Gowda worked the crowd, getting them to chant Time for McCallMcCall, McCall, McCall!

McCall is right on the issues that matter to Indian Americans, Albert said. Given how much we value education, there is no question of making a choice in my mind. Patakis policy on education is simply outrageous.

Emphasizing the importance of the Indian American community for his aspirations, McCall said, It is a community that is increasingly growing in number and in importance, and I am trying my best to identify with their issues.

McCall promised zero tolerance of racial profiling against American Muslims from India and Bangladesh, but steered clear of a recent controversy wherein he was found guilty of passing on resumes of family members.

No, said McCall when asked whether the controversy affected his chances. It is upsetting and frustrating when all of your achievements are overshadowed by one mistake, he added. McCall told India Abroad that he publicly admitted to, and apologized for, his actions. But this is what happens to politicians. It is just a distraction from the real issues. The important thing is that people didnt make this a big thing. The voters chose to focus on the issues that matter to them and that I stand for.

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