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Indian American Hirsh Vardhan Singh enters New Jersey GOP gubernatorial race

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Elect me if you want fresh ideas, the Atlantic City-born Singh, 31, tells the Garden State’s voters.

Hirsh Vardhan Singh; image via http://singhfornewjersey.com/

New Jersey, the most Indian American of all US states, finally has a candidate from the community running for the highest elected office in the state.

Defense and aerospace industry executive Hirsh Verdhan Singh announced his entry to the crowded Republican primary earlier this month.

He is one of the six Republicans who are seeking to succeed the incumbent Gov. Chris Christie, who is term-limited.

“After 9 years providing some of the most advanced engineering services for civilian and military government agencies across some of the most complex government systems, I have decided to move my focus and problem solving capability to help resuscitate my Great State of New Jersey,” Singh said in a Facebook post.

According to the campaign’s website, the issues he is running include overhauling education, transportation and infrastructure, drug laws & criminal justice reform, and medical malpractice and tort reform. The candidate also promises to make New Jersey a national technology leader and proposes to cut the current property taxes.

The Atlantic City, NJ, -born Singh is a senior director of operations at Hi-Tec Systems, Inc, an aerospace, defense, transportation, homeland security and healthcare company based in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

In a recent interview, the Indian American said he was running because of his commitment to do public service. “I was making a lot more money in the private sector,” he told SNJ Today. “I was doing a very good job. The idea is to help our people and improve the state.”

Singh, who has never held a public office before, is running a virtual anti-incumbent campaign, even though the person he is seeking to replace is himself a Republican. That’s because Christie, who was a rising star in GOP once, is deeply unpopular in the state.

“The last 12 years have been a disappointment for everyone in New Jersey, and Hirsh has the experience and skills to turn New Jersey’s fate around,” Singh says on his campaign website. “He believes problems that face this state are due to a flawed philosophy of government held by our state leaders, and believes the solution has always been right in front of us in the state motto: Liberty and Prosperity. Through Liberty we attain Prosperity.”

Though he starts as an underdog in both the primaries and the general election — others in the Republican primary includes Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers, actor and businessman Joseph Rudy Rullo and talk show host Joe Piscopo — Singh is very optimistic about his chances.

“New Jersey with the right leadership has the potential to lead our nation to the next era in innovation and accountability,” he wrote on the Facebook in a post soliciting campaign donations. “This will be quite a task — but my campaign team and I are winners, so we will fight until we attain victory.”

Another post reads: “We will win on the issues. We will win with the young. We will win with the elderly. We will win with the men. We will win with the women. We will win with the old school conservatives. We will win with the intelligent millennials.We will win with American Families that have been here for generations. We will win with minorities that have just planted their roots.”

If he wins the primary, Singh will be up against a Democratic nominee that will be seeking to wrestle the blue state back after eight years.

New Jersey is traditionally a Democratic state, but it has elected a number of Republicans as governor including Christie and former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, who also served two terms before she was tapped by President George W. Bush head the Environmental Protection Agency.

The last date for filing paper works for the race is April 3 and the primaries are on June 6, 2017.

Announcing his entry into the race, Singh had requested the people of New Jersey to elect him if they wish to see fresh ideas. He said: “We’ve tried bankers from Goldman Sachs before and we’ve tried lawyers. Now if you give me the support I bring my engineering background as a problem solver.”

Singh, who did his high school in Egg Harbor Township, has a bachelor’s in science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

If Singh wins, he will become the third Indian American to become a state governor after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who is the current US Ambassador to the United Nations.

According to the 2010 census, 292,256 Indian Americans live in New Jersey, which is 3.32% of the state’s total population.

The Garden State is home to third largest Indian American population after California (528,176) and New York (313,629).

The State experienced an increase of 72 per cent increase in Indian American population since 2000.

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