Neel Kashkari, the Indian American Republican candidate attempting to wrest California’s Governor’s seat from incumbent Jerry Brown, has named Stanford physician Vanila Singh to chair his Indo American Coalition team.
Kashkari and Brown will go head to head for the first time Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. in a televised debate which will be broadcast across the state on the California Channel. The hour-long debate will be produced by KQED, the Los Angeles Times, the California Channel and Telemundo California. John Meyers, KQED’s senior California politics and government editor, will moderate the debate.
Kashkari had asked the popular governor for a series of 10 debates leading up to the Nov. 4 general election, but as of now, Brown has only agreed to the single debate.
“Neel has got a lot of zeal. He is running for the right reasons,” Singh told India-West, adding that she was excited to be a part of Kashkari’s campaign team. “Jobs and companies are leaving the state. We can change that,” she said.
Singh, a Republican, comes out of her own race to capture California’s hotly-contested 17th congressional district seat. The Indian American, who grew up in Fremont, Calif., was one of four contenders in the primary which now pit fellow Democrats Mike Honda and Ro Khanna against each other. Honda has served seven terms in Congress, while Khanna served in the Commerce Department during President Barack Obama’s first term.
Kashkari, former assistant secretary to the Treasury Department during the Bush administration, is best known for creating and overseeing the controversial Troubled Assets and Relief Program, a $700 billion bail-out program for banks and financial institutions, launched in 2008 as the U.S. economy tanked. Kashkari famously told The Washington Post he had created the multi-billion dollar program on a napkin, with the aid of his Blackberry.
“I was never supportive of taxpayers’ money bailing out big businesses,” Singh told this publication. “But a calamity like that had never been seen before.”
“I do support the idea that someone is capable of managing a situation like that,” said Singh, asserting that California needs Kashkari to manage its own fiscal dilemma, to bring jobs and companies back to the state.
She decried Brown’s economic policies, noting that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, is considering another state in which to manufacture his pioneering electric cars.
“This should have been a slam dunk for California,” she said.
Singh acknowledged Brown’s multi-decade presence at Indian American events, but said simply showing up at events would not guarantee future support by the community. “Neel’s issues resonate with the Indian American community,” she stated.
In a press release naming his campaign’s coalition chairs, Kashkari said: “I am honored by the depth and breadth of the support I’ve received from Californians across our great state. I appreciate these men and women who have agreed to support my campaign and help spread our message about jobs and education.”