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Community celebrates victory of first Indian-American state Senator in New Jersey

Attendees pose at a Nov. 17 gathering to celebrate the victory of Vin Gopal, as the fist Indian-American Senator to the New Jersey legislature. (Photo: South Asian Registration Initiatives)

More than 200 supporters gathered Nov. 17, in Millstone, N.J., to celebrate the election victory of Vin Gopal, the new state senator from Monmouth County.

The event was organized by South Asian Registration Initiatives which played an important role in rallying the Indian-American vote in the County.

The event which was attended by Gopal’s campaign volunteers, community supporters and leaders, and business owners, was held at the Monroe Adult Day Care Center in Millstone Township. Senator-elect Vin Gopal won by more than 4,000 votes defeating long-time incumbent politician Jennifer Beck.

Born in Neptune Township and raised in Freehold Township, N.J., Gopal will be the first Indian-American to sit in the state Senate come January.

New Jersey State Senator-elect Vin Gopal speaking at a Nov. 17 gathering in New Jersey organized by the South Asian Registration Initiatives (Photo: South Asian Registration Initiatives)
New Jersey State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, speaking at the Nov. 17 event in New Jersey celebrating the victory of State Senator-elect Vin Gopal. (Photo: South Asian Registration Initiatives)

“It is time for new leadership to tackle New Jersey’s grave fiscal problems to help small business owners and hard-working middle class families,” Gopal is quoted saying in a press release from SARI. “I will be your Senator who will spend every day fighting to lower property taxes, one who will work constantly to eliminate the red tape imposed on small businesses and fight against raising minimum wage increase which will destroy small business owners in NJ” Gopal said, according to the press release.  “As your Senator, I will spend every day fighting against Trenton insiders and fighting for the needs of working people.  That is my pledge to the residents of Monmouth County,” Gopal added.

Other attendees were New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District’s re-elected officials, including Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey and 33rd Legislative District’s third time elected Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, who addressed the gathering along with several local public officials. They urged everyone to stay engaged in the future to fight against discrimination and help elected more South Asians at all levels.

Edison Township Councilman Ajay Patil, Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett and South Brunswick Board of Education re-elected member Deven Patel were amongst the local elected officials present at the event.

Ritesh Shah, founder and chairman of SARI, an entrepreneur who owns several pharmacies, noted that South Asian communities in Monmouth County voted three times more than in previous election years to elect Gopal, breaking the myth that Asian communities do not get involved in elections or political process, the press release said.  He credited SARI with organizing the “biggest” voter registration, phone bank and GOTV campaigns for many months prior to the election which he claimed were an integral part of Gopal’s victory.

“Our work is not over but just begun as we must continue to engage in a grass root level to volunteer for the community and political process to make a difference”, Shah is quoted saying.

Amit Jani, outreach director for Asian American and Pacific Islanders for Governor elect Phil Murphy also addressed the audience thanking those present for their support in electing a “record breaking” numbers of state and local officials in New Jersey.