Indian-American mayor planning run for U.S. Senate, reveals rape by father

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The Mayor Pro Tempore of Manhattan city in Kansas, who says she is meeting top Democratic Party officials to mull a run for the U.S. Senate, revealed on radio that she was raped by her father as a child.

Indian-American Usha Reddi, said she plans to meet Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Kansas City Star reported July 23, based on a radio interview Reddi gave to local News Radio KMAN.

Reddi would be running for the open seat being vacated by incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts who announced he will not seek re-election.

Reddi, 53, who came with her parents to the United States at the age of 8, tweeted about the interview she gave to KMAN Radio July 23, where she also revealed her childhood rape.

Manhattan, Kansas Mayor Pro Tem Usha Reddi, right, with a constituent. (Photo: July 6, 2019 posting on Facebook)uly

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“It’s a very sensitive topic but the message is clear: sexual assault and rape do not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, any age, anytime. Thank you,@1350kman for creating a respectful space to tell a very difficult story. It’s never too late to say something. @KCSDV @RAINN

Reddi, a teacher by profession, has been elected twice to her current position. This July 14, she tweeted, “Brown-skin and elected twice. Thank you.”

News about her father, Venkata Yeleti, 76, who is in Texas, became public as he pleaded guilty this July 19, in a Virginia court to the rape of his daughter from 1975 to 1977. Reddi was just ten years old when the rape began going by her current age. Numerous news media outlets reported the guilty plea including the Winchester Star. Yeleti will serve just one year in prison as part of a plea agreement, the Kansas City Star reported based on the Virginia TV station WDVM report.

In her July 23 radio interview, Reddi said, “My personal life has always been very separate from my public life and very intentionally so, but unfortunately my personal life and my public life are going to be intersecting here sooner.”

She added further that, “The reason being the public knows me in a variety of ways, but the other part to my narrative is I’m also a victim of sexual assault, and the perpetrator in this instance happens to be my father.”

This is the first time that Reddi’s name has appeared in public relating to the case, and it is by her own decision to go public. According to the July 23 report in Kansas City Star and the radio interview, Reddi revealed that the sexual abuse took place mostly in Ohio, but because Ohio has a statute of limitations, she took the case to Virginia.

Reddi has lived in Manhattan, Kansas for 25 years, according to Kansas City Star. She takes over as Mayor of Manhattan, Kansas in 2020.

Kansas has never sent a Democratic Senator to the U.S. Congress since the 1930s, and Reddi will be facing off against other Democratic politicians in the Aug. 4, 2020 primaries. Democratic candidates who have registered to run in those primaries include former U.S. attorney Barry Grissom, former U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, and businessman Robert Tillman who has run for the U.S. Congress several times unsuccessfully, according to Ballotpedia.

Republican candidates have won by wide margins over the years though in 2014, Sen. Roberts pulled in 53.1 percent compared to 42.5 percent garnered by Independent Greg Orman. That 10 point difference could possibly be a window of opportunity for Democrats.

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