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Indian American businessman running for Ohio assembly

Jay Goyal, the youngest to take up challenge of politics, was named 2004 Richland Democrat of the Year.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2005 00:25 IST

Indian American entrepreneur Jay Goyal, at 24 among the youngest to take up the challenge of election politics, has announced his bid for the Ohio state assembly as a Democrat.

The primaries for the Democratic Party are scheduled for May 2006 and if he gets the party's support, Goyal will be in the running in November. He is running for the 73rd House District, the seat currently held by Democratic Representative Bill Harnett who must vacate the position due to term limits.

A vice president in his father's company, Goyal Industries, he has been active in the Democratic Party in Richland County where he was born and brought up. Goyal Industries is a metal manufacturing firm that specialises in products for the mass transit and subway car industry.

Last year, Goyal, who was county chair for the 'Kerry for president campaign' from July to September, was named 2004 Richland County Democrat of the Year.

"One of the main reasons I decided to run is that a lot of people I had grown up with had a major concern that young people are leaving (Richland). I wanted to do something about that. So I made a decision to run for office," Goyal told IANS.

If elected, he said, "I would be able to address the problems that make young people leave, and I want to give some sort of political voice to the Indian American community in the US".

Goyal is a graduate in industrial engineering from Northwestern University. He has been in Washington as an intern at the National Cooperative Business Association.

"I've always been interested in politics. I ran for student president in school and again in college I was very active in campus politics. This is in one way a natural progression," he said, "And I feel strongly about trying to make a difference. In politics you have the ability to influence so many different types of things. That appeals to me."

Goyal is also active in the Mansfield Indian Association and Ohio Marwari Association.

"Richland County and the state of Ohio must focus on the issues of economic development and education. We need to attract entrepreneurs, keep our youth from moving out of the state and support our existing employers," he noted in an earlier release.

"Because the jobs of tomorrow aren't going to be the jobs we have today. They are going to be higher skilled, higher knowledge and therefore higher education-based," he said.

He has formed his campaign committee, which he said is growing all the time and he expects to expand it from the current 15 or so volunteers to some 75 in the near future.

"The main activity I am doing right now is fundraising. We will probably need to collect at least $200,000 to run a competitive campaign. I currently have $43,000 and have some fundraisers coming up that I think will raise that higher," he said.

Goyal was born and raised in Mansfield, Ohio, and graduated from Lexington High School where he was elected class president for four years. His father, Prakash, is the founder and president of Goyal Industries. His mother, Kiran, is an investment advisor with KeyBank. His sister, Anjali, lives in New York and works at a non-profit organisation that promotes Asian American literature.