Desi Talk - page 4

May 27, 2016
– that’s all you need to know
By Jenna Portnoy
epublican Ed Gillespie
brought South Carolina
Gov. Nikki Haley to
Virginia this week to
help him talk about his
plans to run an inclusive, policy-
based campaign for governor in
Haley, 44, the youngest gover-
nor in the country, the first
woman to serve as chief execu-
tive of her state and the daugh-
ter of Indian immigrants, said
she supported Gillespie’s strate-
gy to reach out to minority
groups not known for support-
ing Republicans. “All you have to
do is listen,” Haley told a crowd
of about 150 Republican
activists, elected officials and
lobbyists who gathered at a sub-
urban Richmond hotel Tuesday.
“And not just Indian Americans -
it’s Mexican Americans, it’s
Jewish Americans. When we run
for office, our job is to work for
everybody. You can’t work for
everybody if you don’t listen to
The event was billed as a
“conversation about public poli-
cy” and was sandwiched
between fundraisers for
Gillespie, a longtime GOP strate-
gist who nearly unseated Sen.
Mark R. Warner, D-Virginia, two
years ago. The format was
intended to display Gillespie’s
high-profile connections in
national politics and paint him
as the inevitable GOP nominee
for next year’s race despite com-
petition from Rep. RobWittman,
R-Virginia, and Corey Stewart,
chairman of the PrinceWilliam
Board of County Supervisors.
In their emphasis on inclu-
sion, Haley and Gillespie
seemed to be trying to draw a
contrast with mogul Donald
Trump’s presidential campaign,
which has been marked by con-
troversial comments about
women, Hispanics and Muslims,
and a policy agenda that critics
say lacks depth.
Yet asked whether the Trump
campaign has contacted her
about joining the Republican
ticket as the vice-presidential
candidate, Haley hinted that
there have been conversations.
“I have said I’m not going to
run for VP or interested inVP,”
she said, adding: “I have not
talked to any of his surrogates. I
have talked to people that are in
the know.”
Like Gillespie, Haley told
reporters she would support
Trump, even though she took a
swipe at him in January in the
GOP response to the State of the
Union, urging the party to
ignore the “siren call of the
angriest voices,” and recently
tangled with him during the pri-
mary in her state.
A rising-star governor who
called for the removal of the
Confederate flag from the
grounds of the state capitol last
summer, Haley endorsed Sen.
Marco Rubio, R-Florida, for
president in February and
demanded that Trump release
his tax returns. That drew a
rebuke fromTrump via Twitter,
prompting the Southern gover-
nor to respond with a sarcastic
“Bless your heart.”
Asked how they could recon-
cile Trump’s divisive tone with
their goal of expanding the
GOP’s appeal, Gillespie and
Haley said that Trump is better
than the alternative –
Democratic front-runner Hillary
Clinton – and that control of the
Supreme Court is at stake.
“I think this is a very impor-
tant election in November in
terms of the future of the coun-
try,” Gillespie told reporters.
“[It’s] not just about theWhite
House for the next four years. It
is about control of the court for
a generation or more, the
Supreme Court. And so I’m for
At the event, Gillespie and
Haley answered friendly ques-
tions from the crowd, including
state Sen. Siobhan S.
Dunnavant, R-Henrico, an aide
to Virginia House Majority
Leader M. Kirkland Cox, R-
Colonial Heights, and a young
boy who asked about education-
al standards. Haley also took aim
at a target shared by Virginia
Republicans of all stripes: Gov.
Terry McAuliffe (D). She
attacked the central theme of his
administration, saying Virginia’s
economy has taken a “nose-
dive,” the state is nearly last in
terms of job growth, and South
Carolina no longer competes
with Virginia for jobs.
“I know he will be a jobs gov-
ernor,” she said, referring to
Gillespie. “I want another com-
petitor. I’m a little bored.”
McAuliffe spokesman Brian
Coy pushed back against the
characterization, citing Virginia’s
4 percent unemployment rate,
compared with 5.7 percent in
South Carolina. “That is tough
talk from the governor of a state
with an unemployment rate a
full 1.7% higher thanVirginia’s,”
Coy said in a statement.
“Governor McAuliffe also left his
state today trying to create jobs,
but he’s focused on new employ-
ment for Virginia families, not
Republican politicians.”
McAuliffe is on a four-day trip
to Boston, Montreal and Toronto
to promote Virginia oysters,
wine, craft beer and outdoor
recreation through receptions
and media interviews.
More than a year and a half
ahead of the Virginia governor’s
race in 2017, Gillespie is aggres-
sively building a campaign
treasury and rolling out
In addition to Tuesday’s pub-
lic event, Haley helped raise
money for his PAC at a luncheon
inVirginia Beach and a recep-
tion at a donor’s home in
Richmond. The campaign
declined to quantify the day’s
haul, but last month the PAC
announced a fundraising total of
nearly $750,000.
– TheWashington Post
Nikki Haley Pushes For An Inclusive Republican Party
Bya StaffWriter
he State Department’s
point person for South
Asia, an Indian-
American, is conditioned by
the history of her family in the
independence struggle against
the British Raj and Gandhi’s
civil disobedience movement.
United States Assistant
Secretary for South and Central
Asian Affairs Nisha Desai
Biswal, in an emotional speech
in California, recounted the
experiences of her grandpar-
ents in Gujarat during India’s
independence movement
when they also went to jail for
civil disobedience.
Delivering the 33rd
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
Lecture at the University of
California, San Diego, May 14,
Biswal praised this year’s recipi-
ents of the Mahatma Gandhi
Memorial Scholarships, and
the San Diego Indian American
Society which has been honor-
ing exceptional students at this
event for 33 years, the longest-
running scholarships that
honor Gandhi in the U.S.
Prior to launching into a for-
eign policy speech on U.S.-
India bilateral relations, Biswal
offered an emotional account
of her 1998 visit to India where
she recorded the oral history of
her grandparents, during a visit
“to reconnect with the land of
my birth,” she said. She came
to know if the economic hard-
ships they faced, and the barri-
ers they crossed to engage in a
love marriage at
a time when it
was almost
unheard of, she
“My grand-
parents took
such joy in
recounting their
courtship on the
banks of the
lake where they
met while washing their clothes
– a love marriage at a time
when such unions were unfath-
omable,” Biswal noted.
But the stories that had the
greatest impact on her she said,
“were the heady years leading
to India’s independence, when
they would drop what they
were doing to participate in a
march or protest in support of
the great men of India –
Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal
Nehru, Sardar Patel.”
When she asked her grand-
parents what they were most
proud of from their long and
remarkable lives, “Both said
that they were proudest of the
time that they spent in jail,
locked-up because for civil dis-
obedience. They told me that
they had never felt as connect-
ed to their country as when
they were imprisoned for fight-
ing for a cause larger
than themselves – for
India’s independ-
ence,” Biswal said.
That interaction
with her grandpar-
ents, Biswal said, “I
took with me a deeper
understanding and
connection to the sac-
rifices that prior gen-
erations had made for
their nation, and a determina-
tion to make my own contribu-
tion to my country.”
“What I learned on that trip,
two decades ago, is what has
brought me to where I am right
now, standing here, delivering
this Mahatma Gandhi
Memorial Lecture to a group of
bright, ambitious students who
will no doubt make their own
great contributions,” Biswal
She went on to dwell on the
life of Mahatma Gandhi, who a
little over one hundred years
ago, returned to India and
changed the course of history
and the fate of a nation. “Today,
we still experience the impact
of his life and teachings, and we
see the inspiration of his legacy
not just among leaders in civil
society, politics, and religion,
but even technology,” Biswal
said, speaking in the heart of
SiliconValley. One of the great
American leaders of the tech-
nology revolution, Steve Jobs,
she recounted, considered
Gandhi as their choice for
Person of the Century, who, “
“showed us the way out of the
destructive side of our human
nature,” Jobs said.
The last 70 years, Biswal
noted, had been decades of
unprecedented growth and
prosperity particularly in the
Asia-Pacific region where
President Obama’s policy of
“U.S. Rebalance to Asia,” stems
from and recognizes that the
security and prosperity of the
United States will increasingly
be shaped by the security and
prosperity of Asia.
“And nowhere is that more
evident than in India.” She
went on to reiterate the shared
ideals, opportunities and chal-
lenges facing the two democra-
Indian-American Diplomat Offers Emotional Insight
Into Ancestral Experience With Gandhi
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