Strong Democratic leadership presence at IADO dinner meet

Former IADO presidents Dr Ram Gajela  and Harendra Mangrola along with IADO activists and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
Former IADO presidents Dr Ram Gajela and Harendra Mangrola along with IADO activists and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

CHICAGO: It was an important day of celebration for the Indian American Democratic Organization (IADO) that witnessed a very strong support from the entire Democratic leadership at their 35th annual fundraiser which was held at Holiday Inn Skokie on Sept 21.

Starting from Governor Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, US Senator Dick Durbin, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Bill Foster, Danny Davis, Dan Lipinski, State Senator Daniel Biss, State Rep Lou Lang, Rep Michelle Mussman, Rep Robyn Gabel, Rep Elaine Nekritz, Rep Al Riley, Rep Laura Fine, President of the Illinois Senate John Cullerton, Alderman Ameya Pawar, Water Reclamation District Commissioner Frank Avila, Candidate for Lt. Gov Paul Vallas, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Clerk David Orr were all in attendance at this event.

Indian Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed along with the elite of Chicago and community activists joined the fundraiser event too. The overwhelming support given to the Indian American community signifies the important role we play in the political process of this country. Every elected official praised the efforts of IADO for empowering the Indian community and being a voice for their concerns.

The opening address was delivered by Ashish Sen, President of IADO, who emphasized the importance of working harder to get the Democrats elected in the mid-term elections by supporting all Democratic candidates and volunteering for their campaigns.

Governor Pat Quinn commended IADO for empowering immigrants since 1980 and working towards causes that are important to our State. He reminded everyone that Voter Registration Day was on Oct 23 and citizens should participate in the election process. There are options to vote by mail or vote early if you can’t vote on Nov 4. Voters can request an absentee ballot through the mail or in person. He reiterated his support for fair taxes, funding for education, economic growth and job creation, raising the minimum wage and health care for all.

Speaking next, Alderman Ameya Pawar announced the IADO Honorary Board Member 2014 award to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle introduced US Senator Dick Durbin. He began by saying that he owes his success to his mentor and friend Late Sen. Paul Simon who taught him to help the helpless and be honest.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky in her speech mentioned about the Congressional Caucus on India, whose mission is to advocate for the concerns and needs of the Indian-American community and to promote better Indo-US ties. She is a member of this caucus in the House of Representatives.

This caucus has implemented an initiative to track hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans and has been instrumental in organizing the first Congressional Diwali celebration at Capitol Hill. Other speakers like Danny Davis, Bill Foster and Sheila Simon stressed the need for electing Democratic Candidates on Nov 4 to ensure the well being of the state and its citizens.

Dr Ausaf Sayeed in his speech was delighted to announce the arrival of Prime Minister Modi in the US next week which will lead to greater understanding between the two great nations. He congratulated IADO for its great work in the Indian community.

Lastly, IADO Board of Director Shajan Kuriakose addressed the gathering as he is running for Alderman in the 50th Ward of Chicago, which comprises Rogers Park area which is home to several hundred Indians. He urged voters to actively participate and make a difference in our community.

The evening concluded with a sumptuous dinner which was relished by all the dignitaries and community members. To add an ethnic flavor to the event, a group of young dancers performed a high energy Bollywood fusion dance which was appreciated by the audience.

Vote of Thanks was proposed by Gladson Varghese who thanked all the elected officials for coming and gracing the event and supporting the mission of IADO. He thanked the IADO Board of Directors for working tirelessly to make this event successful. Special mention was made of Ram Gajjela, Harendra Mangrola and Jitendra Diganvker for mobilizing the Indian community to actively participate in this event.

Suresh Bodiwala

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