In 2012, a white supremacist military veteran loaded up with weapons and attacked the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Five people were killed in the attack, including Satwant Singh Kaleka, the small-business owner who founded the temple. No motive was ever discovered.
Now, the AP reports Kaleka’s son, Amar, will be filing paperwork on Wednesday to form an exploratory committee and next month he will announce his Democratic candidacy for Paul Ryan’s Congressional seat.
Amar Kaleka said he wants to see the return of accountability and transparency to Washington politics, and he blames the government shutdown on Ryan, currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee. “There’s a fever in the nation, and specifically in this district,” he said, “for our leaders to stop playing politics and do their jobs. All I want to do is bring democracy — a government of, for and by the people — back to America.”
Kaleka had been making documentaries in southern California for several years when his father’s temple was attacked. Although he had previously thought of running for public office when he was in his 50’s, he decided to pursue it sooner in light of his father’s death.
The Sikh temple shooting had received attention from Michelle Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder who spoke at the funeral, but President Barack Obama did not display a personal interest. Kaleka was bothered by his disinterest as an Obama supporter, and wrote it off as the president following the Washington trend of placing politics above people.
Kaleka also expressed frustration at Congress’ inaction regarding gun control despite a vast majority’s desire to see stronger gun regulations. “They’re more concerned with the groups, the corporations that are giving them money than with what the people want,” he said.
On the subject of running in the wake of his father’s death, Kaleka said “I’ll agree my father’s death has put me in a position where people listen to me more. But it’s not that I’m taking advantage of that situation. I’m trying to further his dream of building the community and leading in a way that’s very democratic. That’s what drives me.”
[Image via this YouTube video, identical to the one above]