CERRITOS,CA-The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) SoCal members met with Congressman Ami Bera and Atul Singh,Editor of the Fair Observer,at the Sheraton here on Apr 3. Bera is the only India-American representative in Congress.He was re-elected to the 114th Congress from California’s 7th Congressional...
Navneet Chugh the founder of TiE Socal and a past president, while introducing Bera made the case that with a representation of 1% of the US population and an average income double that of the average American family,the American-Indian community should have at least 2% representation in the US Congress-or at least 12 members.We have one in Congressman Bera.He asked the affluent and influential audience to support Indian-American at every level whether it is at a local school board,councilor congress.It is only through such unified support that the American-Indian community will get fair representation. Bera talked about his path to Congress which included studying through the public school system,going through undergrad and medical school at University of California Irvine(UCI) and working as Chief Medical Officer of the County of Sacramento.He said he is respectful and thankful to the public support he has received throughout his life and is committed to public service. His Congressional race in 2012 was one of the most expensive in history and he beat out Dan Lundren by a razor thin margin of 1,455 votes.He ran on his strengths of being an Indian-American,emphasizing his diverse cultural background and his respect for freedom and diversity.His pro-active identification as an Indian-American is in contrast with others who shy away from being Indian-American.Bera’s parents were in the audience which was a testament to his position.
Bera said the Indian community is doing very well,but is not united. He also that the challenge has been rather narrow professional fields that Indian-Americans are in and said that he expects the next generation to be in a wider area of work such media-entertainment and hopefully in public service. Bera said the current state of Congress where the Republicans have a majority and the President is a Democrat is leading to a lot of status-quo.However,he added,there are many things that both parties agree on and changes can be implemented.He gave an example of medical care for Veterans-how the medical records from the military system do not automatically transfer to the VA system,leading to long delays in appointments and treatments.Bera introduced and passed a bill to mandate such information transferred-it had a complete buy-in and easily passed.
In the Q&A session led by TiE Charter Member Amar Saheen,Bera spoke about his meeting with the Prime Minister Modi and about his views on the future of India.He said that the PM knew all about Bera and spoke to him in Gujarati.Bera commented on how attune the PM was with his audience and that the PM was a gifted politician.He admired Modi’s agenda for India.However,Bera commented that there are so many entrenched beliefs and practices as well as older laws that will make it difficult to implement change. Change will take at least 10 years.
In continuing with the theme of openness, education, and diversity, Navneet Chugh introduced Atul Singh who spoke about the need for an unbiased, diverse, and deep perspective on global issues and how education is paramount in bringing equality among the masses. Having internet access and thus access to news and perspectives is as important as food, water and electricity. Even the source of news that many in the audience identified with – New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN,have a bias and in some way cater to sensationalism. It is difficult for the media to pay journalists for in depth coverage while running their business. The Fair Observer relies on public sourced news and is unbiased. Singh has more than 1,000 contributors from 40 countries, exposing the audience to narratives that cut across borders, beliefs and backgrounds. His goal is to bring together diverse perspectives. He talked about the challenge with the younger audience,who have a short attention span.
In the Q&A session,Singh identified Gautama Buddha as his source of inspiration who during the 7th century BC was able to cut across all the clutter, keep an open mind and profess pure thought. Earlier,TiE President, Harina Kapoor welcomed everyone stating that the mission of TiE is to encourage entrepreneurs and provide a forum for mentorship and development. She invited all Charter Members to attend the Global Charter Member retreat in Dublin. The program was preceded by a VIP reception for Congressman Bera hosted by Harina Kapoor, Monish Pobrai and Navneet Chugh.