Running for California governor election with the promise of creating jobs and providing good education, Neel Tushar Keshkari feels it is time that Indian Americans, who have made their presence felt in almost every sphere, should be more active politically as well. The 40-year-old Republican, son of Indian immigrants from Jammu & Kashmir, is likely to face incumbent Jerry Brown, who is yet to declare his candidature for re-election scheduled to be held later this year. Keshkari, the architect of the US’s bank bailout at the height of the 2008 recession, said the Indian- American community has made its presence felt in every sphere of life.
“We all feel a sense of gratitude as America has been very good to our families, given us wonderful opportunities and we feel our duty to help others have the same opportunities that we had. And given the success that Indians in America have had, it is high time that the Indians have more influence politically as well,” Keshkari told PTI. Keshkari, who has raised over $900,000 in the two weeks after announcing his decision to enter the governor’s race, said his family members, including his parents, are very excited that he is in a position to run for the post. Before entering into direct contest with governor Brown, Keshkari would have to win the primary, where Tim Donnelly is the other Republican in the race in the resource-rich state.
“We are establishing ourselves as the premier Republican ticket to challenge Governor Brown. And so far the feedback has been excellent,” said Keshkari. He said his Indian-American heritage will be advantageous for him during the election for the highest political post in the state, which is highly diverse ethnically. “I think it is helpful because California is a state of immigrants so many people have come to California from around the US and from around the world and one of my goals is to bring many different ethnicities in the Republican Party,” he said. “So I am reaching out not only to Indians, but also to Asians, to African-Americans, to Latinos and saying that come into our party, we welcome you here.
We want you to be successful. We want your kids to get good education. I feel that my Indian background is going to be a big education, but would also help me reach out to other ethnicity bring them with me,” he said when asked about his Indian heritage. If elected, he would be the third Indian-American governor after Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley. Incidentally all the three are Republicans. Keshkari alleged that the economic agenda of the Obama administration is not very supportive of small businesses. Describing India as very powerful growth engine, he said India need to pursue a very aggressive economic reform to allow entrepreneurs to prosper.