A powerful Indian-American Democratic Party activist and small-business owner in New Jersey, Vin Gopal, formally announced his run for the New Jersey state Senate Feb. 22. Gopal recently stepped down after serving for four years as the chair of the Monmouth County Democratic Party, a perch from where he is credited with engineering several electoral victories to mayoral, city councils and the state assembly.
If Gopal wins, he will be the first Indian-American state Senator. The Indian-American community is very enthusiastic in the district and the state, about his race, he told News India Times. “There’s a lot of excitement about it. Indian retailer, pharmacists and other organizations have come out in support. So have some hoteliers, physicians, business owners, attorneys,” he added.
His first fundraiser March 1 is in the home of a Bangladeshi-American couple Nasreen and Ghulam Suhrawardi in Colts Neck, N.J. A Senate race, he estimates, will cost around $2 million and he is counting down from the “257 days” left for the elections in November 2018.
A lifelong Monmouth County resident, born in Neptune Township and raised in Freehold, and having grown a business from ground up with 14 employing today, Gopal said one of the first things he will take up if elected is the crushing red tape on small businesses in the state and bringing down property taxes.
“I love the State of New Jersey and I believe it is headed in the wrong direction,” Gopal said announcing his candidacy.
He will be running on a ticket with Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey, and said he will be canvassing all residents, voters and non-voters. “As long as they are legal and paying taxes, they have a voice,” Gopal said.
In an interview with NJTV, Gopal said New Jersey had pressing property tax issues, mass municipality problem in 566 towns — parking authorities, sewage authorities, school districts, to name a few. “I think both parties have failed on this issue and I want to go in and try to bring some consensus and work hard to really help the taxpayers of the state,” he said.
Gopal previously served on the Board of Directors for the now Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce where he chaired the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. He is a past-President of the Hazlet Township Business Owners Association and a past-Board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County.
He has served as a volunteer EMT for the Colts Neck and Freehold First Aid Squads, responding to hundreds of 911 emergencies. He currently volunteers with the Long Branch Fire Department. Gopal is also the Founder and President of a 501c(3) organization dedicated to helping Monmouth County charities and individuals in need.