|Shefali Razdan Duggal, a Prominent Figure in President Obama's Reelection Campaign
|After being selected to be on the National Credentials Committee at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Shefali Razdan Duggal spoke exclusively with Desiclub about the importance of this year's election and her support for President Obama.
|by Archana Chaudhary
A prominent South Asian face in political circles and winner of the Most Powerful and Influential Woman of California award, Shefali Razdan Duggal has added a new feat to the list of her accomplishments. She will be part of the National Credentials Committee at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. A top South Asian fund-raiser, Shefali spoke exclusively to Desiclub.com about what her latest feat means, her passion for politics and policies and why she is an ardent supporter of President Barrack Obama.
Tell us about your nomination and selection for the National Credentials Committee at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. What will be your role?
I was officially nominated to the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Committee for the 2012 Convention by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There are three Standing Committees for the Convention: the Credentials Committee, the Platform Committee and the Rules Committee. There are 31 members on the Credentials Committee, including two Co-Chairs and four Vice-Chairs. The Co-Chairs for the Credentials Committee are Mayor Julian Castro and Bishop Vashti McKenzie. The primary responsibility of the Credentials Committee is to determine and resolve questions concerning the seating of delegates and alternates to the Convention. The report of the Credentials Committee is actually the first order of business for the Convention. I am honored to be part of this small and selective group and look forward to productively participating in the deliberations of the Credentials Committee both before and during the Democratic National Convention.
I was also selected to be an at-large delegate for the State of California at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is particularly exciting for me because I had the honor of being an at-large delegate at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California. I believe my commitment to the Democratic Party, across the federal, state and local levels, over the last many years has provided me with the privilege to play such an important role for the State of California at this year's Convention.
You are a member of President Obama's National Finance Committee, a Co-Chair for the Obama Victory Trustees and are involved with numerous other committees and organizations. How do you do it all?
Though it can be occasionally challenging to balance all of these responsibilities, I tend to involve myself only in causes and organizations, which I am deeply passionate about and believe in their missions. I have also learnt, over time, to prioritize appropriately, which ultimately resulted in me becoming very organized in all aspects of my life.
We hear that you are one of the top fundraisers for President Obama, how did you do that?
I have been fortunate to have some level of success in fundraising for President Barack Obama. The main reason is that President Obama and his vision for the country and the world is one that is easy to convey to everyone. He has an ability to resonate with such a diverse group of people and I have found that many people are very receptive to his message. It does require hard work, deliberate focus and an extraordinary level of commitment, although the time is always well spent because I am so enthusiastic about his Presidency and what his tenure means for us all.
How did you get interested in politics? As a young girl, did you always dream of being so involved in politics?
Since I was young child, my father encouraged me to watch the evening news with him, which ultimately helped spring a curiosity within me of all that was happening in the world. I cannot say I knew I would become this involved, although I had always hoped to be a part of the political process. This interest led me to pursue my undergraduate degree in Mass Communications (with a minor in Political Science) and my Masters in Political Rhetoric.
You are also involved with Human Rights Watch (HRW), California Committee North. Can you give our readers more information about it?
HRW is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. With researchers spread across the globe, often in the most dangerous and volatile countries, HRW helps to focus international attention where human rights are violated and gives voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. It has been an honor to be involved in an organization with such a noble purpose.
As an avid supporter of President Obama, what is it about him or his policies that impressed you?
President Barack Obama is a thoughtful and authentic person with values that I respect and admire. I have been an ardent supporter of his since the last Presidential campaign. I believe in his vision of equality and fairness within our society. He has accomplished so much in his first term, although there is still a tremendous amount left to do and I am confident that President Obama will be elected for a second term.
What do you feel he has done for the advancement of immigrants and South Asians in the US?
The South Asian community has much to gain from President Barack Obama's reelection. He has devoted much time and effort to strengthening ties with India and even has come out in support of a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council. In fact, the President's first official state dinner was welcoming Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In addition, President Obama's focus on equality and opportunity for everyone directly benefits those South Asians who live in the United States.
In your journey so far, as a South Asian woman working successfully and actively in mainstream politics, what are some of the challenges you faced and how did you turn them around?
We all have been faced with challenges, although the key I have found is to not let others deflect you from your purpose. Always surround yourself with positive energy and maintain an optimistic attitude and everything else will fall into place.
What would be your message to other South Asian women who want to participate actively in politics?
There is so much opportunity for South Asian women in politics. The key is to seek out and embrace these opportunities whether it is at the local, state or federal levels.
You are a mom and a career woman, how do you balance all your different responsibilities?
I have always prioritized my children above all other commitments and believe that I am a mother first. In addition, I have come to understand that so many of my commitments ultimately are for causes that I believe are for the betterment of my children's future.
Any last words for the readers of Desiclub.com
Always embrace your dreams and, most importantly, have faith in God, in yourself and what you can accomplish with his loving guidance.