Ami Bera, a California-based Indian-American physician, was today sworn in as
member of the US House of Representatives, becoming only the third from the
community to enter the Congress.
Bera is the third Indian American -- after Dalip Singh Saundh in 1950 and Bobby
Jindal in 2005 -- to have ever been elected to the House of Representatives. He
was sworn in as a Member of United States House of Representatives by House
Speaker John Boehner.
Noting that being sworn in as a member of the US House of Representatives is a
"culmination of American dream" for his father who migrated from Gujarat in
1950, Bera said that besides working on his priority areas of health care and
education, he wants to help strengthen the economic relations between India and
"My father migrated in 1950s from Gujarat and this is a culmination of American
dream for him. He worked hard to see his son to be sworn in today in the House
of Representatives. It's really the culmination of everything," Bera told PTI
in his first media interview at his new Congressional office at the Capitol
Democratic lawmaker from California's 3rd congressional district, Bera has been
made a member of the powerful House Foreign Committee, where he is likely to
play an important role in shaping the foreign policy of his country and work
towards achieving his goal of strengthening economic – agricultural in
particular – relationship between India and the US.
The only Indian-American currently serving in House of Representatives, Bera
said health care would be on the top of his priorities.
"Obviously health care has to be about patients," he said.
Bera is the part of America's 113th Congress which also has 43 African American
Noting that he benefited from a strong educational system, Bera said he wants to
make sure that the kids get the best education.
A first generation American, Bera attended California's public schools from
grammar school, to community college, through medical school, earning both his
BS and MD from the University of California, Irvine.
"Investment in education is an investment in jobs," he said.
"Then certainly looking at developing broader partnership in Asia, in particular
between the US and South Asia is going to be very important strategically and
economically," he said.
Bera who has been made a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he
would be joining the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
"I think, there is a strong economic relationship there (between India and the
US) and certainly for California," he said.
His particular emphasis was on the agricultural sector.
Bera said his November electoral win "hopefully serves as an inspiration to" the
young Indian American community.
His father Babu Bhai Bera said, "It is hard to believe."
When in 2008, during a family Christmas party, Dr Bera announced his decision to
run for the US House of Representatives, the entire Bera family came out in
support, the father said, adding that he knew that this is not going to be easy.
"But it is the hard work, determination of him (Dr Ami Bera) and his team of
volunteers made this happen," Babu Bhai Bera told PTI in an interview standing
in the corridors of the historic Longworth House Office Building, where his son
has been allotted an office in his capacity.
Babu Bhai Bera and his other family members including his son flew in from
California to be part of this historic occasion. Bera's mother– who served as a
school teacher for 35 years -- could not make because of sudden illness.
According to the elder Bera, their purpose was to give the best of the education
to their children and that's what they did.
Babu Bhai Bera also thanks the senior leadership of the Democratic Party in
particular former US president Bill Clinton to have endorsed his son and
campaigned in his favour.
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