Indian American techie Rishi Kumar running for US Congress from Silicon Valley

California: An Indian-American running for US Congress from Silicon Valley (CD-18) could be 5th Indian-American – and the first tech savvy representative in the US House of Representatives. Rishi Kumar, a Silicon Valley hi-tech executive and a Saratoga councilmember with a small core team of supporters and believers delivered a formidable performance in challenging a 30-year Democrat career politician incumbent – garnering more votes than any challenger in 30 years, with the incumbent spending 2.5 times to ensure a win. Rishi has emerged as one of the top Indian-Americans candidates in the United States likely to make it to Washington. Rishi’s last run in November 2020 drove an unprecedented engagement – a grassroots campaign that excited volunteers from 29 states across the country.

As an immigrant student who arrived in America on a student visa to study Mechanical Engineering, while working for IBM Silicon Valley, Rishi found his calling as an activist in stepping up for complex and key community challenges that he couldn’t ignore. In his successful terms as a councilmember of Saratoga, he challenged the system and took up the toughest people-issues. He led efforts to reject San Jose Water company’s increasing water rates, reduce burglaries, and stop a potential 300-room hotel mega development project on a hillside high fire-risk zone.  In 2018, the people of Saratoga re-elected Rishi with the most votes in the city’s history for fearlessly addressing issues that were found daunting by others. Rishi is now leading charge with his vision for Silicon Valley’s housing & transportation challenges, and speaking boldly against the push for unchecked growth, sans the foundation of an urban plan.

Rishi is a proud Hindu and stands for all-inclusive Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one connected family) approach. Rishi organized community events and classes such as Bala gokulam, Vedanta, Yoga, meditation, along with celebrations such as Shiva Ratri, Janmashtami, Diwali, Navaratri since 2012. He publicly denounced the Gandhi statue vandalization in Davis, CA. Rishi led an Indian-American elected leaders’ press release denouncing the shooting of the Indian-American engineers in Kansas (2017).  He was the only Indian-American elected leader, who showed up at the peace rally at the San Jose City Hall and spoke firmly against terrorism in SE Asia. Rishi has made compelling statements to California’s lawmakers against the inequitable portrayal of Hinduism in California textbooks. He strongly opposes any form of hate against any group/religion/community and quite vocally and clearly against rising Hinduphobia. His policies in Congress will be driven by the philosophy that diversity strengthens and improves our society – that includes protection of every minority. 

Rishi talks about this need to help immigrants take essential steps towards becoming permanent residents. Immigrants are beneficial both socially and economically to America. Rishi’s policies include immigration visa reform such as HR 1044, that will increase opportunities for qualified individuals to achieve permanent residency and citizenship in a timely manner, while increasing the pool of talented and high-skilled foreign workers that will further Silicon Valley’s economic success.

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