Amar Kaleka, the 35 year old son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the slain former leader of the Oak Creek Sikh temple, is planning to run for Congress against Wisconsin Republican Representative Paul Ryan. White Supremacist Wade Michael Page murdered Kaleka’s father and five others in the infamous Oak Creek Sikh Temple massacre on August 5th, 2012. Kaleka, a Democrat, says he intend to challenge Paul Ryan for Wisconsin’s 1st District House seat in 2014. Ryan was re-elected to his House seat in 2012, when he defeated Democrat Rob Zerban by a 55-43 margin. However, the district barely delivered a victory for the Romney-Ryan ticket, as Barack Obama and Joe Biden garnered 47 percent of the vote to Romney-Ryan’s 52 percent in 2012. Given the poor public marks GOP Congressmen are showing in recent polls, Ryan’s seat could be competitive in 2014.
Kaleka criticized Republican leaders, including Ryan for shutting down the government and for not doing their jobs, and he says he wants to bring Democracy back to America. He also understandably wants Congress to enact stricter gun laws, especially making sure that gun purchasers are required to undergo more rigorous and comprehensive background checks. Ryan is an opponent of background checks even though the Sikh Temple massacre occurred in his district.
Kaleka said he intended to run for office when he was older, but his father’s death has weighed heavily upon him, and he felt the need to run in his father’s memory. Kaleka is also an Emmy award winning film maker. He directed the film Jacob’s Turn, which is about a four-year-old boy with Down’s syndrome who joins his first T-ball team. Of course it goes without saying that his compassionate leadership would be a welcome improvement over Paul Ryan’s cruel brand of conservatism. Ryan has been re-elected to Congress seven times after first winning his seat in 1998, but last year was his worse showing ever, so perhaps Kaleka can run him out of the House in 2014.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.