May 9, 2015 | By Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI)
Roseville, CA: Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) earned appreciation from perhaps a broader audience than he expected when he held a community town hall at the Roseville Sikh Gurdwara on Tuesday, May 5 to discuss federal issues with local constituents.
Those attending included South Asian American community leaders from across Northern and Central California, including Manjit Singh Uppal (former president of Stockton Gurdwara, the oldest Sikh-American institution in the country), Mike Boparai (a director of the American Punjabi Chamber of Commerce), and Roseville Gurdwara leaders Balraj Singh Randhawa and Kuldip Singh Johal. Also present was Mandeep Kaur Dhillon, who appealed to the congressman’s office last month to plead for the life of her brother, Ravinderjit Singh Gogi, an American citizen jailed and tortured in India. Gogi was released on April 26, just two weeks after McClintock joined six other CA congressional representatives in a letter to the State Department on Gogi’s behalf.
“Thank you so much for being proactive,” said Mandeep when she took the mic during a segment for public remarks. “My brother was jailed for two months. False charges were pressed against him because my father is trying to do a peaceful hunger-strike to free political prisoners that have completed their sentences in India but they still remain behind bars. So my brother went there to take care of my father but he was arrested from his bedside and put in jail…. He is a U.S. citizen, yeah, so I just want to thank you for all the help.”
Speaking with the crowd in the Gurdwara’s Langar Hall, McClintock fielded questions on topics ranging from the California drought to his commitment to protecting Social Security to the House’s balanced budget proposal. He especially warned about the threat posed by the national debt, saying: “I was asked some time ago: ’As a member of Congress, what is it that most keeps you awake at night? What is it that you think is the greatest danger to our country?’ And the answer, quite clearly to me, is our national debt.”
“That might surprise you,” McClintock admitted to his audience. “Let me explain why I think that is such a danger. This nation now owes more than the entire economy produces in a year — $18.2 trillion dollars. About $13-14 trillion of that is actual debt owed to the public. We went out and borrowed from capital markets…. When we’re paying $230 billion a year as interest, what that means is you’re paying almost $2000 of your taxes, if you’re an average family, to accomplish nothing more than to rent the money that we’ve already spent.”
Tuesday’s town hall meeting is the second one held by Congressman McClintock at the Roseville Gurdwara. The congressman has frequently expressed concern for the interests of Indian minorities, including notably in 2014 when he cosponsored House Resolution 417, which would have recommended formal U.S.-India dialogues focus on human rights and religious freedom issues. After remarking that “we are each endowed by our Creator with rights that come not from government but from what our American founders called the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” he said Sikhs have “sought to advance those principles in India and have found a very receptive nation here in America that shares those values.”
Congressman McClintock pictured with community leaders Mike Boparai, M. R. Paul (of Bhim Rao Ambedkar Sikh Foundation), Balraj Singh Randhawa, Manjit Singh Uppal, and Kuldip Singh Johal.
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