Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna among the successors of Kamala Harris

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Daughter of an Indian-American mother and African-American father, Harris, 56, was elected a US Senator from California in 2016. The seat will become vacant after she is sworn in as vice president in January.

Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna, who was recently elected for a third consecutive term from the congressional district representing Silicon Valley, is being considered as a potential contender to fill the US Senate seat from California that will fall vacant in January after Kamala Harris is sworn in as the country’s vice president.

Under California law, the vacancy would be filled up by Governor Gavin Newsom for the remaining two-year term of the Senate seat. State media is reporting various names, including that of Khanna, 44, that are being considered by Newsome to fill up the vacancy.

Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna among the successors of Kamala Harris

Among the potential contenders are California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, whose election to Senate will make him the first Latino senator from the State; Congresswoman Karen Bass, who was on vice president short-list for President-elect Joe Biden; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia; State Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego; Treasurer Fiona Ma; and State Controller Betty Yee.

When asked about news reports Khanna told PTI that “I am honoured that my name is in the mix. But I also represent a very powerful constituency…Silicon Valley. So we will see where things go. I am open to whatever opportunity…where I can be most effective.”

According to a recent poll by the University of Southern California, 14 percent want a Latino as the next Senator. But 29 percent of those interviewed want someone having experience in Washington. As per the poll, 11 percent of the respondents preferred Barbara Lee and 8 percent picked Ro Khanna.

Khanna told ABC News that “I think there are a lot of great people out there, but what I hope is that the governor picks someone clearly with progressive views.”

Khanna was co-chair of the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders. On Thursday, IMPACT, a leading Indian-American’s advocacy and political action committee, endorsed Khanna to fill the seat vacated by Harris.

IMPACT executive director Neil Makhija said, “IMPACT urges Governor Newsom to consider Representative Ro Khanna. He has the essential qualities to meet this moment. At a time when we are deeply divided, Ro has demonstrated an ability to bring together progressives, moderates, and even some Republicans. As an Indian-American, Ro also represents the fastest growing community in California. As millions of Black and Brown children around the country see the promise of America in the new Vice President-elect, her replacement should offer the same hope and representation for Californians.”


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