Congressman Joe Kennedy, Running for US Senate, on Indian-Americans, Indo-US Relations and Politics on Chai With Manju

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BOSTON–Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), who is also challenging Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) in the Democratic primary on Sept. 1, is the torch bearer of one of the greatest political families in the world.

In an exclusive video interview on Chai With Manju, Congressman Kennedy talks about his top three priorities if he is elected to US Senate, and one of them being strengthening of Indo-US relations. He talks about his admiration of the Indian-American community, virtual campaigning during COVID-19 pandemic, electronic voting and voting by mail.

In addition, Congressman Kennedy talks about who would be his most favorite companion on a train journey from Boston to Washington D.C. and his father advised him against entering politics.

To watch the full interview, please click here or on the image below.

Congressman Kennedy serves the Fourth District of Massachusetts in US Congress. Currently in his fourth term, he represents a diverse district that stretches from the suburbs of Boston to the cities of Massachusetts’ South Coast. He is a member of the influential House Energy & Commerce Committee. He has worked to expand STEM education to underserved students, fortify community health centers, increase legal assistance for low-income families, end discrimination in health care, and bring down monthly energy bills.

During the interview, Congressman Kennedy also talks about how he and his family is coping with Coronavirus pandemic, especially during his campaign for the US Senate.

“Thankfully and we’ve been very fortunate. I’ve got a two-year-old, a four-year-old. They’re healthy and well and my wife is as well. So thank God for that,” says Congressman Kennedy. “We’ve been very fortunate particularly compared to obviously so many families across the United States and around the world that have been devastated by this virus.”

He said it has been challenging to see so much pain taking place across the country and watch the federal government struggle to respond and the president struggle to respond.

He said that from his perspective as a candidate for the US Senate from Massachusetts politics is supposed to be about people “but to do that you got to be with people and we can’t be up with people.”

He said that has been challenging and frustrating.

“the virus has also shown that we have really deep struggles within our society, deep issues around healthcare, deep issues around fractures within our economy and we need to address and we need change that, and so I look forward to being part of it,” Congressman Kennedy said.

What is the best advice that Congressman Kennedy received when he decided to enter politics?

“The best advice came from my dad and he said don’t do it and I took that to heart,” said Congressman Kennedy, adding that his dad pushed him really hard not to because politics can be really hard and challenging.

Congressman Kennedy also talked about the importance of the Indian-American community. He said Indian American community is an extraordinarily influential community in Massachusetts and across the United States.

He said as tensions rise in Asia, US foreign policy is still looking for its footing with regards to Asia and the world’s largest democracy India should be deeply intertwined partner with the United States.

He said Indian American community has enormous capacity from higher education to business. For example, Leader Bank founder Sushil Tuli is a great example with regard to what he has done,

“It is extraordinary and I do think that the opportunity is there for the Indian-American community  to come together and raise their voices and help make sure that candidates for office understand the impact that Indian American community can have and once they do they’re going to be able to make sure that those voices have an influence in US policy for literally generations to come,” said Congressman Kennedy.

As a member of the influential House Energy & Commerce Committee, Congressman Kennedy’s legislative agenda is driven by the needs of the families he represents back home. He has established national leadership on the issues of mental health and substance use disorder. He has led legislation to strengthen mental health parity laws, expand Medicaid coverage, and ensure that all children and pregnant women have access to mental health treatment.

In Washington, Congressman Kennedy has prioritized the economic development and rich manufacturing tradition of the 4th District. He is a vocal advocate for vocational-technical schools, community colleges and the region’s emerging clean energy industry. His Perkins Modernization Act and STEM Gateways Act, which focus on expanding educational opportunity to middle and working-class students, were both signed into law, as well as his Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI).

From immigration reform to LGBTQ+ equality, Congressman Kennedy is a passionate advocate for civil rights, as well as a proud voice for a living wage, worker protections and economic justice.

He was elected to Congress in 2012, after serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Massachusetts. He attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School. He is married to Lauren Birchfield Kennedy. They have two young children, Eleanor and James.

Nationally, Congressman Kennedy has become a powerful voice for social justice, championing issues like transgender rights, marriage equality, pay equity and comprehensive immigration reform. A former prosecutor and legal aid volunteer, he has also helped highlight the importance of our civil justice system, establishing the first ever Congressional Access to Legal Services Caucus.

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