Fri. Nov 15th, 2019

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After Admitting to Being Raped by Her Father, City Official Considers Running for Senate

4 min read

Topeka, Kansas — Usha Reddi, mayor pro tempore of Manhattan, Kansas, declared she was thinking about running for the U.S. Senate.

Usha Reddi, together with her family, arrived in the United States from India when she was eight years old. In an interview with The Eagle, Reddi expressed her interest in the seat in the Senate. According to Reddi, she will have a meeting with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, as well as with Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader. Were Reddi to be elected for the Senate, she would represent the first woman of color to be a senator from Kansas.

A day prior to her talking about running for Senate, 53-year-old Reddi was a guest in a radio interview at KMAN. During the interview, she revealed that her father molested her when she was a child.

In the interview, Reddi said she put great effort into dividing her personal life from her public appearance. However, despite her intentions to keep them apart, Reddi claimed that, unfortunately, the two had to intersect. The reason for this was, she said, that the public has met her under several lights, but there’s also a part of her life in which she’s a sexual assault victim to none other than her own father.

Reports on the Trial

This revelation doesn’t come completely out of the blue as it wasn’t Reddi who introduced this information to the public. In fact, many news outlets and television stations reported that Reddi’s father, Venkata Yeleti, pleaded guilty on the count of raping his daughter. The trial took place in a Virginia court.

The radio interview represented the first time Reddi publicly mentioned anything about the case. However, her name wasn’t mentioned in the media reports of the case. In fact, they covered the case to show a scarce example of the prosecution of a rape which happened decades ago.

Reddi claimed to have several recordings of her father. On them, Yeleti talked openly about the abuse. Reddi wanted to press charges in Ohio as the majority of the abuse took place in that state. However, due to Ohio’s statute of limitations, Reddi had to talk to the police in Virginia. For a time as a child, Reddi and her family used to live there as well.

Running for Senate

At the end of what was an emotional interview, Reddi weighed in on her political career, claiming that she was considering a Senate campaign. On Tuesday, The Eagle held a phone interview, in which Reddi talked in more detail about her Senate ambitions. She said that she believed she brought a different way of thinking and a new message to the table. In her past, she worked with military, social services, and university, which helped her better understand what was needed. Reddi’s view is that now is a great moment to promote Kansas to a more important piece of conversation in the Senate.

Reddi, an elementary school teacher by vocation, became part of the city commission in 2013. She has lived in Manhattan for over 25 years. In Manhattan, city commissioners serve as rotating mayors. Reddi was in the mayor office in 2016 and 2017 and is supposed to serve again in 2020.

She claimed that they made efforts to bring new investors to create job openings so that students and manufacturers would remain in Manhattan and not leave for somewhere else. Reddi felt that, while the United States economy was sound, the community of Kansas didn’t feel that on its own skin. Moreover, she cited mental health as a huge problem for Kansas. Also, as a teacher, she said that she could understand and see how big of a challenge the educational profession had to face.

Facing Competition

Reddi is a Democrat, which makes her battle to become part of the Senate a difficult one. She’ll have a mountain to climb if she decides to run. Namely, the last time a Democrat won a Senate seat in Kansas was in the 1930s. Reddi claimed to understand what challenges she would be taking on with a campaign. However, she believes that in this moment in time, Democrats have a good opportunity to continue their progress.

If she does eventually decide in favor of running, she’ll have to go up against Nancy Boyda, a former U.S. representative, Robert Tillman, a retired court services officer, and Barry Grissom, a former U.S. attorney. Furthermore, State Senator Barbara Bollier also talked about contemplating a bid.

As far as Republicans are concerned, three have already confirmed their campaigns — Dave Lindstrom, former KC Chiefs player, Kris Kobach, former state secretary of state, and Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner. Additionally, many have expressed their interest in entering the race. For instance, Representative Roger Marshall, Kansas Chamber of Commerce president Alan Cobb, Susan Wagle, Kansas Senate President, and Wink Hartman, Wichita businessman, are all potential candidates.

The race for the Senate seat in Kansas attracted so many people when the current Senator Pat Roberts announced he wouldn’t be looking for re-election.

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