An Indian American recent graduate of UCLA, Shubham Goel, has announced he intends to run for governor to fix a plethora of issues that have troubled the state for some time now.
Goel, 22, is the son of Indian immigrants from Uttar Pradesh. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics and a minor in film and TV.
He’s running for governor — in a packed field that includes Democratic candidates Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, California state Treasurer John Chiang, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and GOP candidate state Assemblyman Travis Allen, among many others — to show the community that you can run for office with a willingness to stand up for what you believe in.
“I’m an everyday born and raised Californian who has lived all throughout California including the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Central Valley and San Francisco who wants to fix the issues for all Californians with practical and feasible solutions,” Goel told India-West.
“It is tough to see everyone in this state suffer at the hands of the few ineffective bureaucrats in power, which is why I have decided to run and make the changes I want to see,” he added.
Goel admittedly said that he faces an uphill battle against the career politicians and well-known names in business and entertainment, but wanted to throw his name in the race to voice his concerns on various issues, including a struggling economy and housing crisis, among others.
“I want to show people that you don’t need to have a huge political backing or large amount of wealth to make a change, but rather, all you need is conviction and grit,” he told India-West. “Also, I wanted to help represent the Indian community and help make our voices much more heard in discussions regarding public policies and state decisions.”
In lieu of starting at a lower-level position, the Indian American candidate said he chose the post of governor because it has considerable clout in “critiquing and promoting bills in the legislature for approval,” as well as the power to veto bills.
Additionally, Goel said the seat holds the power of nominating the board of regents for the University of California system — a privilege he hopes to remove.
By allowing elected students to make the decisions of the board of regents, Goel, who filed for his candidacy Feb. 21, said it will fix “disturbing issues like (UC president) Janet Napolitano hiding $175 million last April from students, the board mishandling funds and regents being financially corrupt.”
Other platform issues the youngest gubernatorial candidate told India-West he intends to address include California housing, the water problem, government transparency, tax cuts to help residents and small businesses thrive, banning social media for kids in K-12 to help address mental health, defunding the high-speed rail, creating a venture fund to invest in California companies, and keeping the film industry in Hollywood.
“Social media companies have used the variable rewards effect to hook us to use their platforms,” Goel said with regard to the particular issue growing throughout the state.
“As a result, everywhere you go, people are on social media sites for hours and hours. This has made people generally unhappy, and our mental health has suffered,” he added, in proposing a ban of social media platforms to K-12 students throughout the state.
Goel, who has not raised any money for his candidacy, citing a correlation between special interests and campaign donations to slowness and inefficiencies of public officials, calls his candidacy “100 percent legitimate” despite his unorthodox approach.
“I am honed in on seeing this through till the end and until I create positive change for the people of California,” he told India-West. “The best part of running for governor has definitely been getting to talk to different people outside farmers markets, malls and grocery stores about their views on the state’s issues and about my specific platforms to fix California,” he added.
Goel currently works as a virtual reality CRM manager for a leading virtual reality company in San Francisco. He previously worked at the nonprofit Dream Out Loud, an organization that brings awareness to the water shortage for elephants who escaped poachers, where he helped with analytics and consulting.
“I definitely feel my viewpoint and approach to our state’s issues set me apart vastly from the other candidates,” he asserted. “I will use technology such as low cost 3-D printing machines to build 10 percent of our housing units on vacant commercial zones; embed Virtual Reality/computer science in public schools to improve learning; and incorporate brackish desalinization/ drip irrigation to help fix our water shortage.”
Goel, a Hindu, has a cover photo of a lottery ticket on his personal Facebook page. He said his name means auspicious — or good omen — which relates to his belief of good fortune and luck.
“I ironically put the lottery ticket on my profile to remind myself that most of us will never win the lottery, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strike gold and be our own lottery ticket by being the person we have always wanted to be,” he explained.
Goel is hoping to strike gold by claiming the state’s gubernatorial seat in November.