New Jersey (US): Deputy Speaker of New Jersey
State Assembly and prominent Indian-American politician,
Upendra Chivukula is all set to run for the US House of
Representatives in the ensuing national elections slated for
Chivukula, 61, has been the member of New Jersey State
Assembly since 2002 and its deputy speaker for the last five
years. The Democratic Party leader represents the state`s 17th
Legislative District of Somersett.
Leonard Lance, a Republican, was elected to the House of
Representatives in 2008 and re-elected in 2010 to represent
New Jersey`s 7th Congressional District. Elections, to be held
on November 6, are due for another two-year term.
Upendra holds the proud distinction of being the first
Indian-American elected to the New Jersey Legislature, and
only the fourth Indian-American to be elected to a state
"There are a lot of factors favourable in my side.
Incumbent Lance is facing a primary challenge within the party
and no one knows who will get the nomination. New towns have
been added to the district changing the demography thanks to
the reorganisation of districts.
"Moreover, Lance had moved to right of center in his
policies that has angered many voters and created a strong
displeasure in the community," Chivukula said.
He said major state Democratic organisations was
supporting him and he does not anticipate a primary challenge.
Prior to his tenure in the state Assembly, Chivukula served on
the Franklin Township Council from 1997 to 2005. He was
elected mayor there in 2000 after serving as deputy mayor in
"America is a great country. It gave an opportunity for an
immigrant like me," said Andhra Pradesh-born Chivukula, who
came to the US when he was 24, to pursue his education.
"America has been a great home for me, and our country has
been at the top for many, many years. Unfortunately, the
country us facing many challenges that affect the middle
class. In the Capitol, there are far many people who are
obstructionist rather trying to solve the problems facing