First Indian-American Elected to Chicago City Council

Chicago, Feb 25 (IANS) Thirty year old Ameya Pawar has become the first Indian-American to be elected to the Chicago City Council.

Pawar was elected Tuesday as the alderman for the 47th Ward on Chicago's North Side that has been represented by outgoing alderman Gene Schulter for over 30 years

"It is amazing. It was really amazing," Pawar, who was a virtual unknown when he entered the race, told ABC7 after the election.

Tuesday night, Pawar had not planned an Election Night party like other aldermanic candidates, the channel said. But when the numbers started coming in, he headed to Timber Lanes where the bowling alley owners were among his first supporters.

"It was a nail biter. We were nervous. We were just so hopeful. We were scared. The excitement was unbelievable," Karen Kuhn of Timber Lanes was quoted as saying.

Pawar, the son of Indian immigrants and an emergency preparedness expert working on his third master's degree, won with 50 percent of the vote.

"I don't think it mattered what my background was. They just wanted to get involved. They wanted a say in what was going on in their local government," said Pawar.

Pawar promises to have an elected ward council to guide his actions at City Hall and to give $50,000 of his salary to help offset the city's deficit or offer community grants. He says the city's budget issues motivated him to get involved.

"We have a lot of issues that we have to work through. But it's what you do in the private sector, non-profit sector when you have problems or issues, you bring in new eyes to a set of problems and you work on them together," Pawar was quoted as saying.

Pawar says he stands on the shoulders of other prominent Indian American as well as his parents and grandparents.


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