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Many Indian-Americans on Obama Transition Team

India West, News Report, Sunita Sohrabji Posted: Nov 21, 2008

Several Indian Americans have been appointed to the Obama-Biden transition team, including a possible contender for the post of Patent and Trademark Office director.

Nick Rathod Nick Rathod, 33, has been appointed director to the Office of Inter-governmental Affairs. Rathod is the national outreach director of South Asians for Obama and one of its founding members. He also co-founded South Asian Americans Leading Together.

The civil rights attorney previously served as deputy director and federal counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of the New York governor and worked briefly with transition team chair John Podesta at the Center for American Progress.

Arti Rai, a professor of patent law at Duke University, has been appointed as a member of the agency review team on science, technology, space, arts and humanities. The agency review teams for the Obama-Biden transition are charged with completing a thorough review of various departments, agencies and commissions in the U.S. government to craft policy, budgetary and personnel decisions prior to the Jan. 20, 2009 inauguration date.Arti Rai

Rai, a classmate of Obama at Harvard Law School, joined the Duke Law Faculty in 2003. She is an expert in patent law, law and the biopharmaceutical industry, and health care regulation. Congress Daily has named Rai as one of several picks for the post of Patent and Trademark Office director.

Anjan Mukherjee, a managing director at the private equity firm Blackstone, has been appointed one of several leads on the economics and international trade agency review team. The Harvard Business School MBA is also a director of Steifel Laboratories, one of his firm's investments. Mukherjee also campaigned with Asian Americans for Obama.

Parag MehtaParag Mehta has been named the deputy director of inter-governmental affairs and public liaison for several minority groups, including Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and the LGBT community.

Mehta previously served as the director of external communications for the Democratic National Committee and its director of training. The central Texan native was deputy political director for Howard Dean's 2003 presidential bid, and directed the campaign's ethnic outreach.

Prior to joining the DNC, Mehta served as the deputy political director for America Votes. He holds a masters degree in public administration from Syracuse University and served in both the Clinton and Bush administrations as liaison to the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Mehta also served as a speechwriter to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Rachana Bhowmik, Subhasri Ramanathan, Natasha Bilimoria and Puneet Talwar will all serve as members of the state, national security, defense, intelligence and arms control agency review team.

Bhowmik was part of Sen. Obama's legislative counsel, handling civil rights, civil liberties, and national security issues such as intelligence, homeland security, and veterans issues for the senator, who was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Prior to joining Obama's staff, Bhowmik served for three years as Judiciary and Education counsel for Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. The University of Virginia law school graduate was previously a staff attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C.

Ramanathan was a senior analyst with the Government Accountability Office's Homeland Security and Justice team. Prior to joining the GAO, she was Chief Counsel and Deputy Staff Director to the Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security, specializing in border security, visa and immigration policy issues. The Rutgers law school graduate served as senior policy advisor and counsel to Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D.-Calif.

Bilimoria is the executive director of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, a non-profit organization aiming to engage Americans in the prevention of these diseases in the developing world.

Bilimoria previously served as senior public policy officer at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and spent four years with the Clinton Administration, including the U.S. Department of Treasury. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and has a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Talwar is a senior staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and previously served on the State Department's policy planning staff.

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