Two Indian Americans win Democratic Primaries for Illinois State Legislature

Illinois: Two Indian Americans have won their Democratic Primaries as first step towards becoming the first South Asians in the Illinois State Legislature. 

Nabeela Syed, 23, won the primary for the 51st House District, and Kevin Olickal, 29, won the primary for the 16th House District, in elections held on June 28.  

Syed defeated Chelsea Laiberte Barnes by a significant margin. Syed had 6,624 votes or 72.32 percent while Barnes had 2,541 or 27.7 percent, with 95 percent of the votes counted. In November 2022, Syed will be running against Republican incumbent Chris Bos. 

According to her website, Syed is running “to build a better Illinois for residents today and tomorrow – an Illinois with a strong economy, sustainable infrastructure, and affordable healthcare, and higher education.” 

Syed currently works for a non-profit, helping them in digital strategy and supporting a myriad of civic engagement initiatives, for example, mobilising voters, curbing sexual assault on college campuses, and enhancing gender equity, according to her official website. 

Having graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Political Science and Business, she served as the president of a pro-bono consulting organisation that helped local businesses. 

Syed is active in her religious community at the Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs and advocates interfaith dialogue and aims to empower young Muslim women to lead. 

Olickal, a progressive Democrat, scored a lead of more than 500 votes against incumbent Denyse Wang Stoneback. 

Olickal won 4,555 votes or 52.7 percent versus Stoneback’s 4,090 or 47.3 percent, according to the data published by the Chicago Tribune. 

The 16th House District, which is the area that Olickal won, includes areas of Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove and Chicago’s 40th and 50th wards. 

According to his website, Kevin Olickal is “committed to fighting for middle-class and working families, ensuring that every community has a voice in government.” 

Olickal was born and raised in Skokie, Illinois, to Malayali parents who immigrated to the United States in late 1980s. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the Ohio State University, he returned to Illinois to engage in public service and build a career in advancing and protecting the progressive values that enabled his family to become successful in the US. 

Olickal works part-time towards his Juris Doctorate at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked as a Cook County Recovery Specialist at the National Partnership for New Americans providing relief to small businesses and non-profits. 

Raja Krishnamoorthi secures Democratic nomination from Illinois  

Three-term Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi will continue focus on fundamental freedoms and human rights now that he has secured the Democratic nomination for US House in Illinois’ 8th Congressional District. 

“My constituents want peace, progress, and prosperity. In Congress, I have fought to grow the middle class, fight for women’s reproductive rights, and combat inflation and increasing gas prices. I will continue to work tirelessly to address these issues in the important months ahead.” 

Krishnamoorthi serves on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, is the vice-chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, and is the co-chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Immigration Task Force. 

He will face Republican Chris Dargis in the November 8 general elections.”We now turn our attention to November, where our fundamental freedom and human rights are on the ballot,” Krishnamoorthi added. 

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