Fundraiser – Raj Salwan for Mayor of Fremont

Raj Salwan
Raj Salwan, Mayoral Candidate (fourth from left) accepting the endorsement from Ritu Maheshwari, FOG Media Chair. Dr. Romesh Japra - FOG Chairman and Founder (far left) and Rajesh Verma, FIA/FOG President (second from left).

Lakshmi Iyer
India Post News Service

FREMONT, CALIFORNIA: Raj Salwan, Fremont Council member is running for the post of Mayor next year. Dr. Romesh Japra, the Founder of Festival of Globe (FOG), India Post, and Americans4Hindus, held a fundraiser at his residence, Japra Mahal and Vineyards, for Dr. Salwan on Sunday, November 19th.

Dr. Raj Salwan is a well-known veterinarian and has served on the Fremont City Council for a few years. Having grown up in the city, he is well-versed with its evolution and unique challenges and opportunities.

Dr. Japrafirst thanked everyone on behalf of his wife, Mrs. Sunita Japra, and himself. He acknowledged the trustees and Board members of Americans4Hindus (A4H) for all their hard work in empowering the community.

Raj Salwan
Dr. Salwan’s parents and daughter with FOG members

He said, “Our community has done so well in every field out there, whether it’s IT industry, whether it’s science, it’s medicine,it’sbusinesses, education, professors, we just name it, even the CEOs of Google, Adobe, Microsoft, many, many others. Our community has been excelling and contributing to this fabric of United States of America.

But three areas where we’ve been lacking – one is political and civic service itself, number two is in the media industry, number three is in these educational institutions right from the beginning, from the primary to the so-called elite institutions.”

Lauding Indian Americans for their intelligence, hard work, and peace-loving nature, he encouraged them to join public service.

Dr. Japrapraised Dr. Salwan for the professional and personal sacrifices he had made for public service.

Raj Salwan
Fremont Mayor Lily Mei (third from left) with FOG and A4H supporters

He then called upon the present Mayor of Fremont, Ms. Lily Mei, to come up on stage and introduce the candidate.

Ms. Mei acknowledged the challenges that Fremont has such as homelessness, the housing crisis and “the importance of people to love, work, and worship safely.”

She endorsed her colleague, “I think that Raj is going to be the Mayor for all, he’s going to work very hard to endure your voices are being heard and represented.”

Dr. Salwans shared a bit about his background. His parents, who emigrated from India, had humble beginnings in the US. Initially, his mother worked at McDonald’s and his father as a night security guard. “I remember feeling poor, feeling that we didn’t have everything”, he reminisced and added, “This community has taken us in, has given us so much, and we feel so blessed and fortunate to live in this community.”

When he was growing up, Indians were still new to the area. People would mistake them for Middle Easterners or Native Americans. He added, “Over time, more and more Indian Americans started coming here, they started to feel more comfortable with us, they started to understand us.”

Before he became a Council member in 2013, Dr. Salwan served on many commissions. He was initially skeptical about politics, but once he joined a commission, he was “hooked’. He saw that there were a lot of problems in Fremont. He thought, “Why not me? Why can’t I help?”

Raj Salwan
FOG and A4H supporters with the Mayoral candidate, Dr. Raj Salwan

About his running for office, he explained that he would have more time as his son was going to join his vet practice.

“Being a Mayor is almost like a full-time job in Fremont. As Mayor Lily Mei can tell you, you may not get all the credit, but you get all the blame. I am ready for that; I am ready to get the blame”, he said.

He gave a shout-out to his family – his parents, wife Sonia, and kids for their support and added, “This position, I think all of us realize, is a very important role for the community because it’s not just about me, but also represents the hopes and aspirations of our community.”

Dr. Salwan said he would be a Mayor for all, “I’ll represent everyone, whether you are from a different group, ethnicity, religion, color, party… I will be a Mayor for everybody.”

His priorities are crime, homelessness, economic growth, and making Fremont a great city for businesses and a fun place for young people to hang out.

He said, “We are the happiest city, but we want to be the safest city as well.” He then elaborated on providing resources for police officers, investing in technology, and making sure that they held people accountable.

Raj Salwan
Dr. Raj Salwan with Fremont Mayor Lily Mei and other elected officials and candidates

Dr. Salwan added, “Homelessness is a rising concern; it is one of the most complicated issues we have in city government, and I have a balanced perspective on that.”He talked about solutions such as finding housing for the homeless, helping them with mental health issues, addictions, disabilities, ways to earn a living, and a path to permanent housing. “It is not fair to have homeless individuals on our sidewalks, in our parks. We need to create temporary shelters to get them housed.”

Dr. Salwan has ambitious plans. “I want to make Fremont the capital of Silicon Valley.”He said he would look into incentivizing companies to come to Fremont, and creating affordable housing so that people who work in Fremont could afford to live there.

He also mentioned the work he does behind the scenes for the Indian American community and appealed for everyone’s help in winning the election,

People even come to him with visa issues. Although he does not have the jurisdiction to do anything about it, he is able to help by directing the affected people to officials in relevant positions.

Raj Salwan
Dr. Raj and Sonia Salwan with supporters

He concluded, “That’s why it is important to have a voice in the process. As Dr. Japrawill tell you, ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are on the menu.’”

A few other candidates and elected officials also spoke at the event.

It was a pleasant and successful evening with a large number of attendees and supporters.

Pictures courtesy of Yo India TV and India Post correspondent