By Ashwin Ghatalia
With a number of Asian organizations such as Indian American Coalition of Texas (IACT), Network of Asian American Organizations (NAAO) working on public affairs and governance and organizations like Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC) working on economic development along with Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (GACC), the Asian activism has been on the rise.
While numerous individuals and organizations from Asian and South Asian Organization are striving to contribute to betterment of the community at large as well as to the Asian American community, they are too numerous to enumerate in this article (though it will be the focus of future article) the focus this time is on the rise in candidature of Asian Americans for public office.
Many from our community might be aware that election of Nov. 2012 saw the first Asian American of south Asian descent run for Travis county Tax collector.
Mr. Vikas Vad did not succeed in this endeavor but has now served on Governor Perry’s commission on Credit Unions.
It is true that Mr. Vad ran as a republican candidate in heavily democratic county but the main positive aspect is that in recent times he has been the first Asian candidate.
Upcoming elections in November 2014 will see at least four Asian Candidates.
Awareness and heavier voting by our community members can ensure their success and thus enable the Asian community its rightful place in contributing to the improvement of the community at large.
The four candidates are Mr. Ramey Ko running for Distric 50 Texas Legislature whom many of you might have seen, deeply involved in Be The Change (BTC) – a celebration of Gandhi Jayanti for public service, Mr. Richard Jung is running for county commissioner has a local law firm Mr. Todd Wong who has been a successful lawyer and running for County Court of Law #1. Ms. Jade Chang Sheppard who is also running for Distric 50, a very successful entrepreneur locally.
For many of our young aspiring members there would be great opportunities through volunteering for campaign of any of these candidates.
Bhanu Ghatalia (IACT Treasurer) and Ashwin Ghatalia( IACT advisory Board member) deputize themselves every year and will be glad to help register those who have not registered or whose data needs to be updated.
At present Texas does not require Photo ID to vote but consistency in information such as driver’s license and voter registration card is important as well as updated information if one has moved from one local area to another.
Our readers must be aware of the fact that as of Nov 2012 elections the city voted in favor of revision of the city charter for the creation of 10 individual districts to elect respective council member with Mayor elected at-large.
At this juncture Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) has been formed to define the districts per demographics providing opportunity for better minority participation.
We in IACT along with NAAO are working to define Asian Opportunity districts.
Two such areas have been identified and presented to the commission. Each of the districts have approximately 10+ percent of voting population.
considering overall voter participation, if Asian Community votes in large number the elections could be swayed.
Please direct questions to Ashwin Ghatalia at (512) 327-4373