By Ajay Ghosh
Stamford, CT: GOPIO-Connecticut hosted a “meet and greet” reception for Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) at the Hampton Inn, here on June 7, as part of its mission to create an ongoing dialog between members of the Indian community and elected officials.
In his talk and lively exchange with the audience, Congressman Himes touched on a wide range of issues of interest to the community, including healthcare reform, financial regulation, education, as well as cap and trade. He said: “we are in the process of gradually emerging from a recession, but I don’t know how long that will take. There is a certain level of risk from the European contagion.” On healthcare, he said: “While the healthcare bill is not perfect, it is an important first step.” His biggest concern is the $40 trillion in unfunded liabilities in Medicare and $8 trillion in unfunded social security benefits over the next 75 years.
In response to a question about the many challenges the US faces, Himes said: “I am optimistic because there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in this country. Just look at all the Americans of Indian heritage in Palo Alto, who are innovating and leading the charge towards wealth creation.” He said: “India is moving from a bureaucratic regime to one that is much more innovative. The US resonates much more with India as a secular democracy.”
He recalled with fondness his many trips to India while he was in the private sector and indicated his commitment to joining the India Caucus in the House on his return to Washington.
Shailesh Naik, president of GOPIO-CT, welcomed and in-troduced Congressman Himes as “a friend of the community and of GOPIO-Connecticut.” Naik said that Congressman Himes’ travels to India have provided him with insights into the essence of the India heritage.