By Dushant Reddy
Congressman John Carter, who is serving the Texas 31st district for the ninth term , was very gracious to accept an invitation for an online “Greet and Meet” event hosted by a large group of Indian community members from Austin.
Abhiram Garapati, a well known entrepreneur and businessman from Austin was instrumental in organizing the event.
The attendees who came to the event were very interested to know where their Representative stands on issues that were on top of their list, and to learn about what his priorities and plans are for his constituents going forward.
The event started with attendees reciting the ancient Sanskrit Prayer Sarve bhavantu sukhinah.
The Congressman became very glad on hearing the English translation of its verses - “We seek a happy , illness free, and a pure life for every being in this universe”.
A member from the audience followed up with a brief introduction about the Congressman highlighting his career, achievements and the service he has been doing for his district over a period of nearly 50 years.
After the introduction, Congressman Carter addressed the audience starting with his observation of how the values of the Indian American community members are very much similar to the values of every other American in this country.
He went on to talk about how it is important for every US citizen to have a job, be able to educate their family and live in a safe and secure neighborhood. He emphasized that the United States government exists to make the lives of individual citizens better.
Coming to the topic of issues, the Congressman made it clear that the security of the individual citizen has always been the top priority for him. He also attributed his focus on this issue due to the twenty nine long years he served as a County Judge before joining the US Congress.
He went on to add how he felt proud about serving in that position because he was able to directly make an impact on keeping neighborhoods safe where children are able to play in the playgrounds, and go to school without any fear or danger.
He said he carried the same attitude when he went to congress at a time when 9/11 just happened, and helped pass bills that made it difficult for terrorists and criminals.
He also touched upon the current situation where there are calls for defunding the Police Departments. He emphasized that Policemen are not above the law and they should be tried for the crimes they commit just like any other criminal.
So de-funding is not a solution. He also mentioned a bill he is working on which will enable the creation of a center where Police Departments nationwide can do an inquiry to check whether an applicant for a job had any issues about racism or violence against a community etc to prevent cops that otherwise might have a great record from getting hired.
Congressman Carter went on to talk about the next big thing that affects everyone in Texas. He said “Texas has the longest border with Mexico compared to any other state in the US”.
Therefore the illegal immigration and the criminal activity that is occurring there is a major concern for him, and mentioned about serving as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee for six years.
He said he has been to the southern border many times as part of that job to see things first hand. He said immigration should be made simple - “If you come here legally , we should cut the red tape as much as we can and make it friendly”.
He also commended President Trump on the issue and the work he is doing on bringing back the economy.
He emphasized the importance of cutting red-tape and making it easy for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow and hire people.
Touching upon healthcare, Carter said he understands that people with pre-existing conditions must be taken care of, and he has been working on it for over 20 years.
He said there are ways to manage this without raising costs , and the answer is not to go for socialized medicine. He strongly believes America values human life and will do the right thing to take care of all people.
The bill he is currently working on will reduce the cost of prescription drugs and supports funding for Alzheimer and Cancer research.
“Relationship with India has been the best it has ever been” remarked Congressman Carter on talking about US-India partnership.
He reiterated his support for India with regard to the current issues it is facing at its border and echoed President Trump’s statement on India - “We will be there for you!”.
He commended the Indian communities’ contribution in the tech industry locally and nationwide , and said “We are very happy to have you here” . He concluded his remarks saying “Best Wishes to all of you. Happy Navratri and Diwali. How’s that! “ .
The event concluded with audience asking a few questions about economy, the negative media campaign against Hindus, and the threat from terrorism with reference to the recent incidents in France.
Congressman Carter answered them frankly and clearly, and reiterated that he is on their side and will do his best to protect everyone’s interests in his district.