Washington: Indian-American Neel Keshkari, a former senior Treasury official and architect of the US bank bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, on Wednesday announced his candidacy for the Governor of California.
Kashkari, 40, whose parents immigrated to the US from Kashmir in the 1960s, entered the race as a Republican candidate against incumbent Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, in the November elections.
"Today, the gift of a good education and the opportunity it creates are out of reach for millions of struggling Californians. That`s why I`m running for governor: To create jobs and give kids a quality education. Jobs and education. That`s it. That`s my platform," Kashkari said at an event in California State University, Sacramento.
If elected, Keshkari would be only the third Indian- American Governor to be elected for an American State after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina.
Incidentally, all three are from the Republican Party.
Keshkari said he has spent the last year talking with Californians about the challenges facing families, communities and small businesses across the state to determine how he can help give others the same opportunities America has given to his family.
"My conclusion: It will take a lot of work to turn California around, but we can absolutely do this. And we must," he said.
Kashkari grew up in a middle-class household outside of Akron, Ohio. After earning bachelor`s and master`s degrees in engineering at the University of Illinois, he moved to California in 1998 to work as a design engineer at TRW in Redondo Beach.
He later earned his master`s of business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and returned to California to help Silicon Valley entrepreneurs raise capital to grow their companies and create jobs.
Kashkari was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of Treasury in 2006 by former president President George W Bush.
When the financial crisis erupted, he worked to bring together lawmakers from both parties to write and pass landmark legislation to prevent widespread economic collapse.
The programme he implemented not only has recouped all the money spent, but also has made a USD 13 billion profit for taxpayers to date.
To support his campaign, Kashkari also announced the formation of his finance committee.
According to San Jose Mercury news, Keshkari could be the sort of new face that the California Republican Party needs as it tries to dig itself out of the electoral cellar.