COVID-19: Indian-American Senator Appointed Member Of Committee to Address Washington's Economic Recovery

Indian-American Senator Manka Dhingra has been appointed as a member of a bipartisan committee in the Washington State Senate to address the state's long-term economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The formation of the seven-member bipartisan Special Committee on Economic Recovery was announced by Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig on Wednesday, a press release issued by the Washington Senate Democrats said.

"This bipartisan committee will lay the groundwork and help lead our state in addressing the economic impacts of the virus through effective and innovative solutions to this unprecedented challenge," Billig said.

The committee will consist of four Democrat and three Republican senators. Democratic senators include David Frockt, Manka Dhingra, Christine Rolfes and Rebecca Saldana and Republicans include senators Randi Becker, Tim Sheldon, while one member is yet to be named.

"Honoured to be selected to serve on this Special Committee on Economic Recovery. This is an opportunity to hear from experts across the country to make bold changes in order to create opportunities for success for all Washingtonians," Manka Dhingra, Senator for Washington's 45th Legislative District, tweeted.

Dhingra, 47, is an Indian-American attorney and the first Sikh elected to any state legislature in the US.

The committee will hold its first meeting in June and is tasked with making recommendations on COVID-19 recovery legislation for the next year's 2021 legislative session, or before that if lawmakers are called back into the session this year.

"The purpose of this select committee is to look deeply at the ways in which the pandemic has structurally changed our state and regional economies, and to make recommendations on how we can come out stronger on the other side for workers and the businesses that employ them," David Frockt, who will head the committee said.

"The goal is to have this committee work together, without partisanship, in order to drive innovative, forward-looking ideas that can help the people in every corner of this state recover and prosper," he said.

It will hold work sessions in the coming months to hear from experts in a variety of fields, look at what other states are doing to recover from the outbreak and identify innovative ways to rejuvenate Washington's economy and communities throughout the state, the release said.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the US is the worst-affected country in the world, with over 1.2 million confirmed cases and more than 75,000 deaths.

The Washington state has so far reported over 16,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 800 fatalities.