Meet the Nima Kulkarni, the first Indian American elected to Kentucky Legislature

Meet the Nima Kulkarni, the first Indian American elected to Kentucky Legislature

Author: Sherlene M Shanklin

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the first Indian American to hold a seat in the Kentucky State Legislature, Rep. Nima Kulkarni said she entered into politics to light a fire for change.

At the age of six, Kulkarni and her family moved directly to Louisville from India so that her brother could get the special education he needed at The de Paul School.

After graduating from Atherton High School and the University of Louisville, Kulkarni left to attend law school in D.C. — but her time in Kentucky wasn’t over yet.

Kulkarni moved back to Louisville in 2010, founding Indus Law Firm. Focusing on immigration and employment law, Kulkarni helped anyone from professors to researchers secure positions of employment.

“I started my own immigration law practice,” Kulkarni said. “I focused primarily on employment-based immigration, so my focus is to help a lot of businesses throughout the country who want to bring workers here.”

In 2013, Kulkarni founded the New Americans Initiative, a foundation dedicated to educating, engaging and building awareness of immigration-related issues.

“I started it with a primary focus on making sure that those who can get naturalized to get their citizenship were able to do so,” Kulkarni said.

Then, politics came calling. Kulkarni focused her campaign on topics that have been important to her since she was a child: labor, education, healthcare and immigration.

In the midst of her tenure, another Indian American made a first: Kamala Harris became the first female, first African American and first Asian American vice president.

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