Indian American Upendra Chivukula to run for US Congress

March 28th, 2012 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, March 28 (IANS) Upendra Chivukula, an Indian American member of the New Jersey state assembly, plans to run for US Congress with the hope of unseating Republican Leonard Lance, who is seeking a third term.

Chivukula, a 10-year assembly veteran who chairs the Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, is the state’s first and only Indian-American lawmaker. He is also a former mayor and councilman in Franklin Township.

Only two Indian Americans have served in the US House of Representatives to date. Dalip Singh Saund was the first Asian immigrant to be elected to Congress in 1956 from California. He was re-elected to a 2nd and 3rd term, winning over 60 percent the votes.

Louisiana governor Bobby was the second Indian American elected to Congress in 2004. Jindal secured reelection in 2006 with 88 percent of the vote, but quit in 2007 when he was elected governor.

“If you look at the Congress, there’s a 10 percent approval rating,”

Chivukula, 61, an electrical engineer who moved to the United States from India when he was 24, was quoted as saying by

Chivukula said he wants to run “given all the debacles that happened last year because of the stalemates in Congress and the lack of focus on how we can come out of this recession and create jobs and the economy.”

“With my background I think I can contribute to having some discussion and making a difference,” he said.

Chivukula said he does not know if anyone else is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Lance.

If he wins the nomination, he faces an uphill battle in the November election as the 7th District, once competitive, got more friendly for Republicans after a state commission redrew congressional district lines in December.

“Well, unless you try you never know,” said Chivukula.

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