Contact: Matthew Witten

Senator Cooney's Historic Announcement



Matthew Witten, Campaign Manager

Vik Vilkhu for Brighton Town Justice

(856) 625-5731, [email protected]


Making History for the Indian American Community in Rochester NY


On March 25, 2023 in Rochester NY, State Senator Jeremy Cooney announced his endorsement of two local Indian American candidates for public office: Vik Vilkhu for Brighton Town Justice and Naveen Havannavar for Pittsford Town Board.


As members of the fastest growing population in NY, the Rochester area Indian American Community is rallying to elect more Indian Americans to represent them as public officials. Senator Cooney became the first Asian American from Upstate NY to be elected to the State Senate in 2020. If elected, Naveen Havannavar would be the first ever Indian American ever on the Pittsford NY Town Board, and if elected, Vik Vilkhu would be the first ever Indian American Trial Judge in the state of NY. Also in attendance, was ever present Sanjay Hiranandani, a local community leader and philanthropist, who has been a true mover and shaker in the Indian Community and a catalyst for a change in representation by electing more Indians to public office.


Senator Cooney started, “the Rochester region has an opportunity, to elect not just one but two outstanding, qualified candidates to public service…As I stand and talk upon the dais at the Senate, I’m hoping that other people, other young people, are seeing that this is an opportunity that they can visualize themselves in…When we run for office, it’s a testament and a promise that we are making, not just as Indian Americans or South Asians, or Asian Americans but as candidates, saying we are doing this for the love of others…and when we see a full room like today, on a cold rainy spring morning on a weekend, this is what gives us the courage and the confidence to move forward, it’s not just about the people up here, it’s about all of us, working together to better democracy in this country, to better represent the families that live in the greater Rochester community, to step up, to make a difference, and to lead. Not just in Rochester, not just NY, but in the United States of America.”


Naveen began, “State Senator Cooney, a trailblazer in our community has demonstrated that through hard work and perseverance you can achieve big things and help your community”.


Vik added, “Diversity isn’t a word that we should bring out in certain months, or to bring out votes, it means supporting diverse candidates who have the best ideas, and making sure their voice is heard…when we support diversity in our elected officials, we support new ideas coming into the system, pushing it forward.”


It is our hope that you, the media, will be interested and proud to cover this historic moment for our community and state. We welcome any questions you might have and encourage a further conversation about this important story.


In Photo [L to RSanjay Hiranandani, Vik Vilkhu, Sen. Jeremy Cooney, and Naveen Havannavar]

In Photo [Local Indian American Candidates, Elected Officials, and members of the Community]

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