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Chivukula seeks re-election to New Jersey Assembly

Currently serving his second term in the State Assembly, Chivukula hopes his track record will get him re-elected.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2005 12:33 IST

Upendra Chivukula, the first Asian American elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2002, is running for re-election this November and hopes his good track record in office will see him through.

Chivukula

, currently serving his second term in the New Jersey State Assembly, hopes his track record on how he has helped his district while in office will get him re-elected.

"I have brought $4.9 million into the district to provide aid to various municipalities; the various legislations I have sponsored, some in process, such as prompt-pay laws for healthcare providers to compensate, better definition of customer care so that insurance companies cannot escape their responsibilities.

This is a work in progress. You keep working on it," said Chivukula, the Indian American who has sponsored a Science and Technology Caucus in the state legislature and was instrumental in establishing the World Languages and International Studies Caucus.

"The most important issue facing people are property taxes and how to provide relief," Chivukula, who has also expressed interest in running for the US House of Representatives in November 2006, told IANS.

"Number two is how to make healthcare affordable and providing access to healthcare."

He said while more money was being spent on healthcare, the quality and affordability were becoming more critical issues.

The third important issue, according to him, was commerce and economic development in the state.

"We need to grow the economy by investing in more companies and creating jobs. ... Also, we need to put money into research, stem cell, into the commission on science and technology to promote technology; to create and help small businesses, minority and women businesses," he emphasised.

Though he is running for State office, Chivukula has a committee that is exploring his bid for the US Congress. Called "Chivukula for Congress" the committee also has a website.

"That is a long-term plan. A lot of times opportunities come and you have a window of opportunity. So you have to be ready for it. I'm getting ready for the Congressional run for the House seat when the opportunity presents itself," he said.

"That could come in 2006 if the seat opens up. If it doesn't happen then, the next opportunity is in 2008."

US Senator Frank Lautenberg will be 84 years old soon and observers say he may choose not to run for office again. In that case, US House Representative Rush Holt has indicated he will run for the seat Lautenberg lets go. That would leave a House seat open, one that Chivukula may try for in 2006.

"We don't have a crystal ball but we have to be ready," he said, adding that people in the Democratic Party had been generally supportive, "Meanwhile, I continue to serve the people of New Jersey."

Chivukula is an electrical engineer by training, and managing Director of the Antartica Group. He was elected to the Franklin Township Council in 1997 and to the state General Assembly in 2002.

Apart from his many public appointments, Chivukula was named last year as Elector for the Electoral College in 2004 and the New Jersey Coordinator for Asian American Outreach for the Kerry-Edwards Campaign.

First Published: Oct 19, 2005 12:33 IST