Indian Americans are thrilled to see ‘One Of Our Own’ to the IL Senate first time ever

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Chicago: Former congressional aide Ram Villivalam won the Democratic primary for Illinois State Senate District 8, thereby running unopposed in the general election to be held on November 6, 2018.
Villivalam, who challenged 20-year incumbent Ira Silverstein, won the primary getting 13,350 votes that account to a total of 51.86 percent. Incumbent Ira Silverstein could only secure 29.05 percent, giving a clear majority to Villivalam.
Other Democrats who ran for the election were Caroline McAteer-Fournier and David Zulkeywas, who could only secure 13.81 percent and 5.28 percent votes, respectively.
State Sen. Ira Silverstein was ousted after a 20-year career. A victims-rights advocate accused Silverstein of sexual harassment for sending inappropriate messages while they worked on legislation. The legislative inspector general declared there was no sexual harassment but that Silverstein had acted unprofessionally. He lost handily to Ram Villivalam, a union activist.
Speaking to his supporters at the 90 Miles Cuban Cafe in Lincolnwood, the first-time candidate Ram Villivalam said: “I am incredibly proud of – and humbled by – the coalition we’ve brought together and the work we’ve done over the last four months,” Villivalam told a group of supporters gathered at 90 Miles Cuban Café in Lincolnwood. “This win belongs to each of you.”
The 8th Senate district has the highest concentration of Asian Americans in Illinois. It includes 21 Chicago neighborhoods, among them, all of Devon Ave.’s business district, popularly called “Little India” — and the suburbs of Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles, Des Plaines and Glenview.
“This campaign was never about me. It has always been about working together to empower and raise the voices of the voters of the 8th State Senate District, one conversation at a time. Today, those voters spoke clearly: they’re ready for a new generation of effective progressive leadership. Thank you to my wife, Elizabeth, my family, my staff, and the hundreds of volunteers who have been a part of this campaign.” Villivalam added.
Ram ran a tough, disciplined and inclusive race that earned him important endorsements from members of Congress such as Brad Schneider, Jan Schakowsky, and Mike Quigley, as well as major endorsements from the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. They all recognized Ram’s leadership abilities, intelligence, hard work ethic, and in-depth knowledge of the issues.
Ram Villivalam’s victory is a testament to the power of grassroots organizing and campaigning. With respect to the #MeToo movement, Ram rightly said “women need to be believed. And men need to be held accountable.” Ram is a strong supporter for solutions to preventing gun violence. He is a forceful advocate to defend a women’s right to choose, protect the environment, and provide access to quality and affordable healthcare – issues that earned him strong support and endorsements from Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Sierra Club, and SEIU’s State Council.
“It’s not so easy to beat a 20-year incumbent,” Villivalam said, sitting beside his wife, Elizabeth Granado, whom he married in October. “However, we had numerous grassroots volunteers going door to door, talking to people about the issues that matter.”
“The people of the 8th District have spoken,” he said. “They want a zero-tolerance policy … They want women to be heard. They want women to be believed. I think this is somewhat of a referendum on ending business as usual in Springfield.”
“Because Ram had the courage to stand up to a twenty-year incumbent who had abused his power and lost touch with everyday people, the families of the 8th district are better off,” the union said.
The winner of March 20 primary election is all but assured victory in November in a Democrat-dominated district that stretches from Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood to Glenview.
Villivalam’s experience includes working as a legislative coordinator for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), where he fought to protect home care for seniors and people with disabilities, child care for working families, and Medicaid for those in need. Prior to that, Villivalam was the Outreach Director for Rep. Brad Schneider, D-IL, where he signed people up for the Affordable Care Act and put on job fairs.

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