Ro Khanna on What It's Like To Run For Office As An Indian American And His Thoughts On Immigration Reform

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Answers by Ro Khanna, Candidate for Congress from Silicon Valley, on Quora.

A: I have run very proud of my heritage and story. My grandfather, Amaranth Vidhyalankar, spent four years in jail in the Indian Independence movement in the 1940s. I often talk about his inspiration on the campaign trail. I also am very open in discussing my Hindu faith, and how that informs my concern for the environment, for equality of women's rights, and for equality in gay rights. The Indian American story is an American story. My parents came with very little. I went to public school, took out loans for higher education, and have had many opportunities because of my education. My hope is my candidacy will inspire many Indian Americans to run for office, vote, get involved and serve.

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A:It's likely to happen, and we need it. The question is how long will it take. Every day that goes by hurts our country. We are preventing skilled workers from creating jobs in the United States and instead they are creating jobs offshore. This means less opportunity for American workers. I rather they be working here, creating jobs here. So, this is common sense. But, we need many more folks who care about this issue voting, participating in politics, getting engaged. Too many folks from the Valley are indifferent to politics. Until people get engaged, we will not see change. It can't just be Mark Zuckerberg or Fwd. We need a massive mobilization of individuals in Silicon Valley and across the country to bring change.

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A: It's both inspiring, fun, and exhausting. But, thats what it should be. The fun part is meeting extraordinary individuals in the community and around the country. When you run for office, you get to meet a lot of folks and hear their stories. It's also fun having a voice in the political debate. We have serious challenges on issues of how to create jobs, how to pay for college, and how to deal with a world that is not safe. It's an extraordinary opportunity to be able to share ideas about those issues and have your voice heard. The exhausting part is raising money. I don't know anyone in politics who enjoys it. But, it's a necessary part to succeed and takes a lot more energy and time than it should. We need to solve campaign finance in this country.

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