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Oak Creek massacre victim's relative plans to run for US Congress

world Updated: Oct 30, 2013 12:48 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Oak Creek massacre

Amardeep Kaleka, son of one of the Sikhs killed in the Oak Creek gurudwara massacre, is considering a run for US House of Representatives against a heavyweight Republican.

Kaleka, a former schoolteacher and documentary filmmaker, said in a note sent to close friends and supporters on Friday “I'm more than considering it. One foot is in the water.”

Running on a Democratic ticket, he plans to take on Paul Ryan, Republican vice-presidential candidate and sitting member of the House of Representatives from Wisconsin, in 2014.

His strategy, therefore, is aptly called the “David strategy”. Ryan, a seven-term influential member of the House, is the Goliath Kaleka wishes to bring down.

His father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was one of six Sikhs killed by white supremacist Jade Michael Page on August 5, 2012, at a gurudwara in Oak Creek in Wisconsin.

The killings led to a congressional hearing where relatives of the victims pleaded for attacks on Sikhs -- there have been many -- to be counted as hate crimes. It is now.

If Kaleka does decide to run -- that would depend on support he gets over the next few days -- he will be among a growing number of Indian Americans running for public office.

There were close to 15 in the fray in the 2012 congressional elections. Only one of them won -- Ami Bera, who became the third Indian American elected to US congress.

Amardeep Kaleka decided to run because Oak Creek massacre, he said in a short promo, opened his eyes to “race, violence and economic disparities the nation faces”.

Local and national leadership of the Democratic party, Kaleka said in the note, also weighed in. And his chances looked good to him: “we have more than a shot of sending him home”.

Before that battle though, Kaleka will have to fight off other aspirants for the party’s nomination in primaries, which will take place middle of 2014.

And then there is Paul Ryan.