US ready for woman president, says Indian-origin political activist

The US is ready for the most capable and talented individual to be the country's leader irrespective of his or her gender, an Indian-American campaigner and a key fundraiser for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has said.

Washington: The US is ready for the most capable and talented individual to be the country's leader irrespective of his or her gender, an Indian-American campaigner and a key fundraiser for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has said.

When asked if the US is ready for its first woman president, Haridwar-born Kashmiri-American Shefali Razdan Duggal said, "In all honesty, it really doesn't matter what I think, as the country must have a heart beat of its own which makes these decisions, based on societal advancement and open-mindedness which comes from progressive thought."

Away from media glare, 44-year-old Duggal has quietly established herself as a major fundraiser and campaigner for the former Secretary of State.

Based in San Francisco, California, Duggal firmly believes that 68-year-old Clinton is best suited to succeed Barack Obama as the next president of the US.

"Not because the former Secretary of State is a woman, but because she has all the credentials to lead the country at this critical juncture of history, she said.

"The United States is always ready for the most capable, thoughtful and talented individual to be the leader of our country. The gender is irrelevant," argued Duggal, who is on the National Finance Committee of the Clinton Campaign and is among the select group of Clinton supporters who have raised at least USD 100,000 in this primary election cycle since the launch of her campaign on April 12, 2015.

"In this year's election, the aforementioned individual happens to be a woman. The country's next Commander-in-Chief must continue the phenomenal and inspiring work completed and still in progress by President Obama. That person would be Secretary Hillary Clinton, and she is a woman," Duggal told PTI.

She is currently a member of the Democratic National Committee's National Finance Committee and is a Co-Chair for the DNC Women's Leadership Forum.

Appointed by the US President Barack Obama to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, for a term expiring January 15, 2018, Duggal said she only works on campaigns/issues/ boards which she feels very moved or compelled.

"I only work within things which deeply touch my heart. Thus, almost all of my free time, outside of children, is devoted to thanking this country for all the gifts it has given to me, and this gratitude is given within the time I dedicate to my political work," Duggal said.

Duggal moved to the US at a very young age and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A graduate from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, having received a BS in mass communication, with a minor in political science, she then went on to receive her MA in political communication from New York University.

"I have a great love for the United States. It is a place where all things are possible, if one works honestly, diligently, and is pure-intentioned," Duggal said.

"I am personally involved within politics as I have always been fascinated with how this country is a meritocracy, and that anyone, absolutely anyone, can rise from the ashes to become anything they will into their life, including President of the United States," Duggal said.

This personal fascination within public service began at the age of nine when she intently watched the Carter-Reagan election in 1980.

"Effectively, when all other things were boiled away, the election consisted of a peanut farmer running against an actor to become President of the greatest nation on earth. Where else in the world can that happen?" she asked.

"It was then, at age 9, that I realised how great this country was and what a privilege it was that my fate brought me here as a young child.?I wanted to, somehow, be engaged within the political process, and it was a matter of time to discover where I would be most helpful within the journey," Duggal explained.

Passionate about politics, Duggal, however does not want to run for any elected office.

"Never. I am not suited for it, as I wear my heart on my sleeve and am quite sensitive," she notes.

"I have no issue with people telling truths about me, as unpleasant as they may be, although I do have fundamental issues with people being dishonest about my character, my essence, my being. Thus, a political campaign would be, literally, torture for my heart," Duggal said.

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