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Indian in race for Arizona treasurer's post

india Updated: Oct 27, 2006 13:57 IST
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"A professional, not a politician." That is the platform on which an Indian American woman is running for the post of state treasurer in the Arizona elections this year.

The candidature of Rano Singh, a Democrat, in the November 7 elections is drawing attention as the incumbent treasurer David Petersen, a Republican, is resigning in the face of a financial scandal.

"I think it's important to set up structures to permanently eliminate the problems we've had with conflict of interest," Singh told the Verve Independent, a local paper in Arizona.

Petersen has decided to resign and plead guilty to a misdemeanour charge of failing to report $4,200 in commissions for selling character-education materials to schools.

He faces a maximum of six months in jail and over $2,000 in fines.

Singh had joined the state attorney general's Hate Crimes Task Force post-9/11, and became president of the India Association of Phoenix and in 2002.

She was later was appointed by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to the Citizens Finance Review Commission.

She now wants to use her management skills in running the state treasurer's office.

"We must restore integrity and trust to the office by providing ethical and professional leadership," a report in the South Asian Journalists Association website quoted Singh as saying.

Born in India, reared in London and a resident of Arizona since 1981, Singh will be standing for the elections as a Clean Elections candidate.

Clean Elections is a system of government financing of political campaigning being tried out at the state level in the US.

According to this system, candidates hoping to receive public financing must collect a certain number of small "qualifying contributions" from registered voters.

In return, they are paid a flat sum by the government to run their campaign, and agree not to raise money from private sources.

Singh, a community college teacher and owner of a small biotech business, has said that she has clocked hundreds of hours volunteering financial assistance to the state and has worked with many non-profit organisations.

According to Bart Graves, spokesman of the Arizona Democratic Party, the party encouraged Singh to run "because we like what she wants to do".

"She has a very good plan to promote investment strategies, she is extremely well thought of in her field, and she would inject integrity and accountability into the office," said Graves.

According to Singh, the state's investments should be evaluated not just for their profitability but also for "social equity and ecological integrity".

Her opponent, Republican Dean Martin, however, says that it isn't the treasurer's job to use public money to support causes.

But Singh remains confident as a large percentage of voters remain undecided following the Republican incumbent's involvement in the scandals.

"My honesty and integrity is something people have called unparalleled... the office needs a professional non-politician," the Verve Independent quoted her as saying.

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