How Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi became a major player on Capitol Hill

Ravi Baichwal Image
Friday, May 17, 2024
How Indian immigrant Raja Krishnamoorthi became a major player on Capitol Hill
Raja Krishnamoorthi immigrated to the U.S. with his family from their native India when he was 3 years old. Now in his seventh year in Congress, he has become a major player in Was

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) -- Raja Krishanmoorthi came to the United States when he was three years old, immigrating with his family from their native India. Now he is in his seventh year as the U.S. congressman serving Illinois' 8th District.

Krishnamoorthi has become a major Democratic player in the nation's capital, serving on the Oversight and Intelligence Committee, and the vitally important Committee on Strategic Competition between the U.S. and China.

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While he is now one of the most high profile congressmen in Illinois, Krishnamoorthi was first introduced in 2016 in with a memorable campaign ad in which he implored voters, "Just call me Raja!"

Ravi Baichwal interviewed U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi.

He first got started in politics through races with former President Barack Obama.

"We met at a reception, a civil rights reception, I think, in 1999. And then in 2002, he we met again and he said, I'm I'm running for the U.S. Senate. And I said, sign me up. I became his policy director for that for that campaign. And that's what really illustrated to me, the great character of Illinoisans and how they really assess people based on someone on their character rather than, you know, kind of outward notions of who people are," Krishanmoortih recalled.

Since taking his seat in the House of Representative, he has taken part in President Donald Trump's impeachment trials in 2019 and 2020 as a member of the Oversight and Intelligence Committee. And he was in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when insurgents stormed the building.

He says there's not quite as much rancor on Capitol Hill as people see.

"A little bit less. I think that when people are off camera, I think they're much more candid," he said.

An extended interview between Ravi Baichwal and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi will air as part of the "Our Chicago: Connecting Cultures," which airs Saturday at 6 p.m.