(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal on Wednesday(9)  elected as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), which will play an influential role during the next Biden administration.

Jayapal, 55, said that the caucus will advance racial justice, tackle poverty and inequality and help transform the country.

“As a lifelong organiser, I am honoured that my colleagues have elected me to lead the Congressional Progressive Caucus at this pivotal moment,” she said.

“We have massive crises knocking at our nation’s door, and the work of the caucus has never been more important. The American people need Congress to lead with vision, conviction, empathy, and dedication to people and families in every community who are struggling right now.

“Together, our caucus is going to deliver real relief to families, advance racial justice, tackle poverty and inequality, champion climate justice, and help transform this country so working people can finally get ahead.”

Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has been elected as deputy whip of CPC, while Congresswoman Rashida Talib was elected as vice chair for member services.

More than half of the 26-member executive board of the caucus are people of colour and more than half are women.

Elected in 2016, Jayapal is now serving her second term in Congress representing Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and its surrounding areas.

She is the first South Asian American woman elected to the US House of Representatives and one of only 14 naturalised citizens currently serving in the US Congress.

Jayapal was born in India, grew up in India, Indonesia and Singapore, and came to the US by herself at the age of 16 to attend college at Georgetown University.

She later received her MBA from Northwestern University, worked in a number of industries in both the public and private sector, and published her first book in 2000, Pilgrimage to India: A Woman Revisits Her Homeland.