Indian American attorney and activist Goutam Jois is making a bid for public office, running for New Jersey's 7th Congressional District seat to fix shared values.
Jois, who said he is running to restore Washington, D.C., which is putting values such as justice, fairness and dignity under assault, has fought throughout his career to uphold those values, he said on his campaign site, www.jois2018.com.
As an attorney and activist, Jois has said he represented a young, unarmed African American man who was shot by police, and won at the Supreme Court.
Additionally, he boasts to have secured asylum for a gay man from Jamaica; won a major First Amendment case for a police officer; and obtained landmark relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Jois, previously a Youth Governor of the state, also said he has organized national youth political conventions, and has worked with a family business, seeing firsthand what it takes to create jobs in the construction and infrastructure fields.
The candidate promises to bring his experience to the House and work to expand opportunity, improve security and strengthen the district's communities if elected.
He said, with regard to expanding opportunities, that everyone deserves access to economic and educational opportunities. Jois promises to work to create sustainable jobs by investing in the area's infrastructure, make college and trade schools more affordable and empower workers by strengthening unions.
Jois added that hard-working families need to know that the government will stand by its end of the social contract, speaking of security. He said he will fight for universal healthcare and policies to support working families, including paid family leave and raising the minimum wage.
And he added about strengthening the community that "we cannot allow anyone, least of all the president (Donald Trump), to divide us by race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status or anything else."
Among his platform issues include the economy and jobs, women's rights, the environment, education, civil rights, immigration, LGBTQ issues, veterans' issues and data privacy.
Jois said democracy is being skewed for three reasons.
"First, over the last eight years, the problem of money in politics has gone from bad to worse, as the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case unleashed unlimited corporate money in politics," he said on his campaign site.
"Second, in this information age, corporations and the government control huge amounts of information about individuals and their private lives and data breaches are a near-daily occurrence," he added. "Finally, gerrymandering and voter suppression have gotten out of control in recent years."
And in order to level the playing field, he said the Constitution needs to be upgraded for the 21st century to "Democracy 2.0."
Specific changes he is suggesting include a campaign finance reform amendment, a privacy amendment, and new voting rights amendment.
"This isn’t an outlandish idea," he said. "At critical moments in our history, we have amended the Constitution to keep America’s promise — of opportunity, justice, and fair political participation — for all Americans."
Born and raised in New Jersey, where he went to public school, Jois is a graduate of Georgetown, where he earned an undergraduate degree, and Harvard, where he obtained a law degree.
Jois, of Summit, currently works with Atlas Corps, an organization that brings nonprofit leaders from around the world to the U.S. Additionally, a father of two, the candidate also is a coach for a semi-pro football team and is a stand-up comedian.
The primary race for the 7th Congressional District in New Jersey is April 2. Other candidates outside of Jois in the Democratic Party field include Indian American Peter Jacob, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 election for the same seat; Tom Malinowski, Kurt Perhach, David Pringle and Linda Weber. The Republican incumbent Leonard Lance will be challenged by Lindsay Brown in the GOP primary with the winners moving on to the November general election.