The Executive Committee of National Indian American Coalition (NIAC.co) hosted a lunch meeting with Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL) on June 10th, 2011 at its headquarters in Carol Stream, IL. The purpose of the meeting was to acquaint Ms. Biggert on the formation of NIAC and present issues important to Indian Americans.
After introductions, Mr. Shalli Kumar made a high tech power point presentation embedded with many video clips. The PPT pointed out that Indian Americans are the most well to do ethnic group in the US. They have the highest median income, have the highest education with 67% having a Bachelor’s degree as compared to 28% nationally. Indian Americans strongly believe in self-reliance, take the least from Government and make the highest level of contributions to charities. More than 57% are in professional or managerial positions. We have the highest ratio of entrepreneurs, one in seven. Out of a total population of about 3 million, 400,000 have their own businesses, employing 1.2 million jobs and generating $150 billion per year in revenue. Indian Americans in general believe in hard work, fiscal discipline, rewarding success not failure, spending within your means, balanced budgets, save for the future for your kids, strong family values, less intrusive government, less regulatory burdens, lower taxes, and a strong national defense against terrorism. All these traits should make the Republican party pay a lot more attention to the Indian American community.
Mr. Kumar also pointed out a well known fact about the clout Jewish Americans have, and most present were surprised to learn that there are only 6 million Jews in the US, yet they control the congressional purse strings.
The Power Point Presentation talked about the origins of the NIAC group under the inspiration of President Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and the guidance of Don Totten, who was Reagan’s Midwest campaign manager and a trusted advisor, and the recent reemergence of the group to support Nikki Haley’s candidacy for Governor of South Carolina, under the name of National Indian American Coalition, or NIAC, with a website www.niac.co
The PPT further explained the strategic as well as tactical goals of NIAC. In short, NIAC wants to create national clout for Indian Americans so that we can influence national policy and agenda important to Indian Americans.
One such hot issue today is the Freeze of Foreign Aid to Pakistan. Mr. Kumar showed a number of video clips featuring US Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who have spoken out strongly in favor of cutting off all aid to Pakistan until it can demonstrate full cooperation on war on terror.
NIAC Executive committee urged Congresswoman Judy Biggert to support HR 1699 (introduced by Ted Poe and Allen West) with a change that requires Certification to be done by Congress instead of Secretary of State. She expressed general support for the Bill and stated that she would most likely sign-on to it, but asked for a few days to study all the fine points of the Bill and then issue a statement. She agreed that it should be Congress who should certify Pakistan’s compliance on war on terror, and not the Administration.
Ms. Biggert went on to praise the Indian community for its passion on education and high achievement. Her district comprises of Naperville, Bolingbrook and surrounding towns. She told the Ex. Committee that she has two full time assistants in her staff who help sort out Immigration problems for Indian Americans in her district. She is member of India Congressional Caucus.
Congresswoman was also offered a glimpse of the NIAC upcoming Meet and Greet mega Bollywood event on July 16th, Saturday at 6:00 PM at Monty’s Hall in Bensenville, IL. This event focused on 2nd generation Indian Americans, to encourage them to participate in community affairs and a bit of politics, features the Multi-platinum Chart Busting RDB as well as Signature of Britain Has Talent fame. NIAC is offering complimentary tickets for this concert for the first 600 attendees who register at www.niac.co. Total of 1500 guests are expected including a guest appearance by Nikki Nimrata Haley, Governor of South Carolina, as well as most of the elected officials in Illinois. Presidential candidates have also been invited. Ms. Biggert will be appearing at the July 16th Meet and Greet.