NEW YORK – Goutam Jois, an Indian American from New Jersey will run for Congress in this year’s midterm elections to challenge Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7).
“Forty years ago, my parents came to the U.S. for that ‘Promise of America’ which is at risk in so many different ways today. We need to do a lot of work for that,” Jois told News India Times, in a phone interview.
Jois said that he has had “10 years of experience as an organizer for getting millennials into politics” while he also successfully litigated police brutality at the Supreme Court on cases such as LGBT asylum, First Amendment free speech issues and other civil rights cases and would like to offer his experience and expertise to a term in Congress.
The main issues that Jois would like to emphasize when he is elected are the tax bill, state infrastructure and “something I like to call Democracy 2.0.”
Jois said that the tax bill which was recently passed by the GOP needs to be “repealed and replaced.”
“The 7th District are the number one victims of the tax bill and it is setting all the wrong priorities,” he said.
The state infrastructure is also on his list as the statewide transportation system “NJTransit is not in shape and multiple proposals are needed for its efficiency.”
Jois mentioned that the state also doesn’t have broadband Internet access everywhere and that President Donald Trump’s plan to improve infrastructure in New Jersey “is not a plan” as it is “leading to cuts in other areas.”
“The Constitution needs to catch up to our democracy,” Jois explained about his idea of Democracy 2.0.
“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,” Jois stated on his website.
Therefore, he wants to introduce “a campaign finance reform amendment that overturns Citizens United and makes clear that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech, a privacy amendment that guarantees every individual a right to privacy in their personal information and private lives and a new voting rights amendment that guarantees every citizen has the right to vote, without interference from partisan gerrymandering or voter suppression tactics,” according to his website.
Jois has been living in New Jersey all his life and has been an activist and advocate for the last 20 years.
He was the Youth Governor of New Jersey when he was in high school, where he organized national youth political conventions and helped start a youth and government program for high school students in Washington D.C.
Today, he works with Atlas Corps, an organization that brings nonprofit leaders from around the world to the U.S.
According to his website, Jois also knows what it is like to create jobs as he helped his father start a construction management consulting company in their garage, which now employs nearly 75 people.
Jois has an undergraduate degree in government and a Master of Public Policy degree from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and a law degree from Harvard.
He is also a stand-up comedian who has been coaching semi-pro football since 2009.
When asked if he has been using his comedy throughout the campaign, he said, “it’s always useful to have a sense of humor which is used to break the ice and tension.”
Jois lives in Summit, New Jersey with his wife, Elizabeth, who works for a nonprofit organization; they have two children, Anjali (6) and Vikram (4).