Virginia Republicans Honor India’s Diwali (Festival of Lights)

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Vienna – Virginia Republican Party leaders gathered in Tyson’s Corner, Fairfax County to celebrate the Indian festival of lights, Diwali. They recognized the Indian American community and their contribution in many professional fields; Fairfax County boasts the second largest number of Indians working in the IT sector, with only Silicon Valley having more.

Many high level candidates and delegates participated, including, Mark Obenshain, Virginia State Senator and candidate for Virginia Attorney General; Virginia House Delegates Tom Rust and Barbara Comstock; and Tiero Cuccinelli, wife of Ken Cuccinelli, the current Attorney General who is running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis for Governor of Virginia. The election will be held Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

Jay McConville, Chair of Fairfax County Republicans, former Congressman Artur Davis, and Anthony Reedy, Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia, were also present.

Delegate Tom Rust said he enjoyed working with Indians. “They are a high tech community, very bright people,” he said. Elaborating on equal opportunities, he said that in his district, the Indian American community was always represented. “We have in the past taken trade missions to India. We want to do more. Let’s keep our economy moving forward,” he added. Pointing out that one of the blessings in his 86th district was its rich diversity and economic prosperity, he asked the Indian community to get involved in the election.

Tiero Cuccinelli, wife of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, urged people to spread the word about removing negative ads in the media, as they tarnish character and mislead people. She said that there were some negative ads about Ken which were playing with women’s emotions. “My husband is a good man and loves serving people,” she said.

Cuccinelli said she met her husband when she was 14 years old and has seen him take the initiative to help others. She said her husband cared about people and was concerned about their prosperity, freedom of speech, religious freedom and other rights. “This is my first Diwali celebration and want to celebrate more with you.” she added.

Former Congressman Artur Davis said he wanted to salute Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Obenshain; they made a good team for Virgina. “The opposition talks about helping the poor, but we want to raise them out of poverty.”

He said he believed in Republican values. “Let’s put the commonwealth on the path to success,” he added.

Mark Obenshain said their business was their community and that they were fighting for prosperity and diversity. He urged the people of Virginia to vote on November 5. “We want to win with your help,” he said.

Delegate Barbara Comstock said her district had a thriving Indian American population with a large IT community and that Indians are hardworking family people. “You are here to develop your professional and family life. We want to work with you in your journey,” she said. Comstock said they valued a good education system. “When your kids are studying hard, they should get admitted to the best schools. Let’s keep the promise of Thomas Jefferson High School on a merit basis,” she said.

On the issue of crime, Comstock pointed out that the government was working with the community. “Let’s crack down on crime together. Let’s keep our children free of fear” she added.

Monika Samtani, traffic reporter from Washington, DC’s Channel 9 News, while explaining the meaning and history of Diwali, which was a triumph of goodness over evil, wished people Happy Diwali. She said that Diwali was all about relationships, caring for others, creating awareness and that “it was a unifying event.”

Puneet Ahluwalia, Vice Chair of the Fairfax County Republicans, hosted and coordinated the event. More than a hundred people from the Indian American Diaspora gathered to celebrate Diwali with the Republican Party leaders and officials. The program began with somber Sikh, Hindu and Christian prayers and the US National Anthem was sung by young Amad Ahluwalia. The participants were treated to Indian snacks and cuisine at Bombay Tandoor, an Indian restaurant in Vienna, Virginia.

The event was sponsored by the Republican National Committee, the Republican Party of Virginia and the Fairfax County Republican Committee.

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