Meet Arati Kreibich, the Indian American Democrat vying to unseat incumbent NJ congressman

Arati Kreibich
Arati Kreibich, image via Facebook

Kreibich is running in Tuesday’s primary against fellow Democrat Rep. Josh Gottheimer in New Jersey’s 5th congressional district.

For immigrant, neuroscientist, and mother of two, Arati Kreibich’s life changed on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, the day Donald Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to become the President of the United States.

That election served as a defining moment for the Indian American, spurring her to enter the world of politics and successfully run for Glen Rock Council in 2017.

Now after serving on the council of the borough, which has a population of nearly 12,000, Kreibich is running for Congress. The trigger for her current race is a vote by her representative Josh Gottenheimer last year for the president’s border wall.

She is taking on Gottenheimer, who was elected in 2016, in the Democratic primary for New Jersey’s 5th Congressional district.

The state’s primaries are mostly by vote-by-mail because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tuesday, July 7, is the last day for postmarking the ballots.

A neuroscientist, Kreibich earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. Her website states that her scientific background, specifically her research focus on opiate addiction and her experience working with pharmaceutical companies, gave her an unvarnished look at the serious shortcomings of for-profit healthcare.

As a mother and with a husband who is a frontline healthcare worker amidst a global pandemic, Kreibich is an advocate for free healthcare for all and paid sick leave.  Some other issues on Kreibich’s platform include: fighting hate and white supremacy, climate change, gender equity, and criminal reform.

Kreibich immigrated to the United States when she was 11 years old with her parents and two younger brothers.

Despite once volunteering for Gottenheimer’s reelection campaign in 2018, Kreibich will look to beat him at the polls this Tuesday, on July 7.

The relatively conservative district has voted Republican in every presidential election since 2000. Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 1.1 percent votes in 2016.

The same year, Gottenheimer flipped the district from the Republicans after 83 years.

Cast in the mold of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, Kreibich has displayed plenty of fighting spirit during the campaign. Asked by a New Jersey publication to name one thing that Trump did that she supported, the Indian American said:  “I’m going to be hard put to think of anything Trump has done that I would say was necessarily something that I would agree with. And it isn’t because no one’s given him a chance, it’s because he lies hundreds of times in a day … He is one of the most dangerous presidents that we’ve had.”

(This post was updated on July 7, 2020.)

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