Edison, NJ - With elections fast approaching, the Republican and Democrat Senate candidates made their respective cases to Edison’s growing Indian American Community. On Sunday, August 12, Republican candidate Robert Hugin made an appearance at the 14th Annual India Day Parade, hosted by the Indian Business Association. The following night, Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, spoke to the association at its post parade gala dinner, which was attended by approximately 1,000 business leaders and community organizers.
Mr. Hugin highlighted his business experience and his plans to grow the economy. “Many people don’t recognize the importance of the Indo-American community’s contributions to New Jersey’s economy” said Mr. Hugin, citing healthcare as an example of an industry where significant contributions have been made by Indian Americans. Mr. Hugin previously served as Chairman and CEO of the Celgene Corporation and as a Trustee of the Atlantic Health System. “I’ve been a part of the biotech industry for the last twenty years. I think it's great to bring focus on the positive aspects of this industry” added Mr. Hugin, pointing to his record of job creation and innovation in healthcare.
Meanwhile, Mr. Menendez stressed his foreign policy experience. Mr. Menendez serves as the Ranking Member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee that helps shape foreign policy of broad significance. Mr. Menendez discussed his role in fostering U.S. - Indian relations. "We just carved out a special exemption for India, in its defense procurement as our two great democracies get closer and closer together” said Mr. Menendez. “We want to make sure that India can be a full partner, especially in South East Asia” he added. Mr. Menendez also discussed the H-1B visa program, stating “as one the nation’s leading advocates on immigration reform, we want to see an expanded H1 visa category that can ultimately create greater opportunities for employment and success here in the United States.”
Edison is home to a large and growing Indian American community. According to a 2016 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, Indian Americans make up over 34% of the township’s population. The community has traditionally leaned towards the Democratic party. However, Mr. Ishan Shah, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Mr. Hugin’s campaign, believes this year the community will support Mr. Hugin in significant numbers.
"Bob Hugin will be a strong voice for all Indian Americans in New Jersey. As a business leader, Bob Hugin has witnessed firsthand the important contributions of Indian American culture, business, and values to our state. As Senator, Bob Hugin will work to continue the strong bond between our two nations including Prime Minister Narendra Modi” said Mr. Shah.