Indian-American New York Senator shares Dubai memories

Dubai: New Yorks first Indian-American state Senator Kevin Thomas, who assumed office at the beginning of this year and who was born in Dubai, is now advocating tolerance and pushing for the diversity which he had experienced in the UAE.

In an exclusive to Gulf News, Thomas on Sunday shared his memories about Dubai where he was born and raised till he was 10 and then returned in 2010 for an internship.

The first and only Indian-American lawmaker in New York state’s history said: “We lived somewhere in Satwa… I studied in St Mary’s Catholic High School up to fifth grade.”

His parents, Thomas Kanamoottil and Rachel Thomas, who hail from Ranni in Kerala, then decided to move to the US for their children’s higher education.

On November 6, 2018, Thomas was elected as the Democratic member representing sixth district, Nassau County.

An attorney and an appointee of the US Commission on Civil Rights to the New York State Advisory Committee, a federal agency tasked with civil rights oversight, Thomas defeated the incumbent Senator Kemp Hannon, who had served in the State Senate since 1989.

Currently the chairman of the Committee on Consumer Protection and a member of various committees, Thomas on March 5 introduced a bill that gives holidays for schools on festivals like Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha, Diwali, Vaisakhi and Onam.

In the interview, Thomas cited his experience in Dubai of communities celebrating festivals of different religions and regions as one of the reasons why he sponsored the bill.

“I am pushing for diversity,” he told the Gulf News.

Regarding Dubai’s development, the Senator said: “The construction, the booming market … everything has been revolutionary. You say you are going to Dubai, and people are like, yeah that is a great city.”