Make Your Vote Count in November!

By Ravi Balu, Murrysville, PA


Dr. Ravi Balu grew up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, practices family dentistry in Murrysville. Ravi and his wife Raji settled in the city in 1990; since then he has been actively involved in the South Asian community as well as grass roots politics.

The November presidential election is likely to be a very close one, and whoever wins in Pennsylvania is likely to the next president. So, this is an appeal for all of you to go and vote on November 6.

Think back to our humble beginnings in the mid 1960s, when the Indian American community was made up of only a handful of families; most were pursuing their graduate studies, residencies at the local universities and hospitals, or working at Westinghouse. Fast forward fifty years: as South Asians, we are the third largest ethnic group in the greater Pittsburgh met­ropolitan area, after Caucasians and African Americans. The population of our community doubled from the 1990 to the 2000 census and is one of the well-recognized ethnic groups in the area.

Indian-Americans have made valuable contributions in many diverse fields in Western Pennsylvania—including performing and visual arts and veterinary medicine, not to speak of our presence in healthcare, engineering and technology, IT, research & teaching, the hospitality industry, architecture & civil engineering, and small and medium businesses.

Though we are relatively small in number, our community has contributed to making Pittsburgh one of the top ten most-livable cities having a vibrant housing and job market.

Therefore, we should have influential voices on how we govern ourselves—whether it is in city, municipal or county governments, state legislature, or in US Congress—to voice our concerns about school education, poverty al­leviation, escalating costs in higher education and healthcare, urban growth, and opportunities for our kids’ futures.

It is wonderful to see that a number of our community members have taken the initiative to run in local elections. We should support them wholeheartedly, participate in electing local and state legislators, and members for the US Congress, not to speak of electing the next president.

So on November 6th, please go to vote and make a statement. You need to have eligibility to vote—natural or naturalized citizenship—and you should be registered to vote. For registering to vote, please visit your local post office to pick up an application.

If you are interested in getting involved with local campaigns or have any questions about registering to vote, please contact the U.S.-India Political Action Committee’s Pennsylvania chapter at

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