Amar Kaleka, the son of a slain Sikh temple president, plans to challenge US Rep. Paul Ryan in the 2014 congressional election. Paul Ryan's support has been slipping.
The son of a slain Sikh temple president plans to challenge US Rep. Paul Ryan in next year's congressional election, in a Wisconsin district where support for the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee has been strong but slipping.
Amar Kaleka, 35, told The Associated Press he'll file paperwork Wednesday to form an exploratory congressional committee. He plans to formally announce his candidacy as a Democrat next month.
Kaleka said he wants to bring accountability and transparency back to Washington. He blamed the government shutdown on Ryan, who's the House Budget Committee chairman, and his GOP colleagues. He said citizens are tired of career politicians who care more about staying in power than serving the people.
"There's a fever in the nation, and specifically in this district, for our leaders to stop playing politics and do their jobs," Kaleka said. "All I want to do is bring democracy — a government of, for and by the people — back to America."
Kaleka's father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was a small-business owner who founded the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee. On Aug. 5, 2012, a white supremacist walked into the temple and opened fire, killing Kaleka and five others before taking his own life. The FBI was unable to determine a motive.
That was a turning point for Amar Kaleka, who grew up in Milwaukee and has been making documentaries in southern California for the past four years. He won an Emmy for his 2010 direction of Jacob's Turn, about a 4-year-old boy with Down syndrome who joins his first T-ball team.
He said he used to dream of running for public office when he was in his 50s or 60s but decided after his father's homicide to seek office sooner.
Sympathy and cash donations poured in from around the globe following the Sikh temple shootings, and several federal officials expressed their condolences. First lady Michelle Obama visited the temple to comfort the families and Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the funeral.
But President Barack Obama, who has visited sites of other mass shootings, never came. His absence bothered Kaleka, an Obama supporter who hoped the president's presence would help advance the cause of stronger gun regulation.