Who am I?
Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula (b. October 8, 1950) rose from humble beginnings to become the man he is today. Born in Nellore, India, Upendra moved south to Chennai as a two-year old as his father searched for work. Living with his parents, grandmother, and five siblings in a hut, there was never enough money to go around.
Undaunted, Upendra aspired to achieve the American Dream, and believed that hard work would allow him to accomplish his goals. Education is the greatest equalizer he says, and will tell you how he used a small lamp to study late into the night during his childhood years. He received a merit scholarship to study engineering at the College of Engineering Guindy (Anna University) in Chennai, and after much hard work, earned a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering.
With only a few dollars in his pocket, Upendra immigrated to the United States in 1974, and received a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from City College of the City University of New York. At City University, he met his future wife, Dayci.
As a grassroots organizer in the 1980s, Upendra gained the support of his community and earned valuable leadership skills. He was appointed by James Florio, then the Governor of New Jersey, to be a Public Member of the New Jersey State Board of Social Work Examiners from 1994 to 1997. Upendra ran for public office after being encouraged by his friends and supporters, and in 1997 was elected to the Township Council of Franklin Twp., NJ, the largest municipality in Somerset County. He was elected as Deputy Mayor of the Council in 1998, and as Mayor in 2000.
He was a Member of Delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1996, 2000, and 2008, and was an alternate delegate in 2004. Chivukula was also one of the Presidential Electors for New Jersey in the 2004 Presidential Election. He has served on numerous boards, committees, and commissions on the state, county, and local levels. Click here to view Upendras detailed biography.
Upendra has invested his time and energy in addressing the needs of his constituents. He oversaw years of stable taxes, and increased the economic prosperity of his community.
New Jersey General Assembly
In 2002, Upendra was elected to the New Jersey Legislature, in the 17th Legislative District. And he hasnt wasted anytime Upendra works full time to accomplish real change for the citizens of New Jersey.
Upendras colleagues in the Assembly recognized his unique leadership qualities, and elected him as a Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Telecommunications & Utilities Committee. Upendra is the Vice Chair of the Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee and a member of the Transportation, Public Works, and Independent Authorities Committee.
Upendra holds the proud distinction of being the first Indian-American elected to the New Jersey Legislature, and only the fourth Indian-American to be elected to a state legislature.
Upendra has resided in Franklin Township, New Jersey for over 30 years with his wife, Dayci, his son, Suraj, and daughter, Damianty. Hard work and dedication have allowed Upendra to inspire the publics imagination. An engineer who speaks a half-dozen languages, a husband and father who serves as a Deputy Speaker in the NJ General Assembly, Upendra is a leader, innovator, and the embodiment of the American Dream.
Why am I running?
Three main issues that the Chivukula for Congress campaign will make priorities: Education, the economy and energy & the environment.
In a country built on optimism and opportunity, the deep undercurrent of economic pessimism that pervades today is troubling. The uncertainty that people face is real ---and for many there is hardship. Upendra Chivukula believes that Congress must work to preserve the American Dream, restore the hopes of the forgotten middle class, and reclaim the future for our children.
Politicians in Congress have forgotten the value of an education and what it means to children and for our families. We hear it in todays debate on student loans and education funding. Recently, political gridlock threatened to double interest rates on federal loans for 7.4 million college students. When it comes to education and preparing our children for the future, inaction is an unacceptable answer to todays problems.
Providing for a sustainable future requires developing many different sources of energy while protecting environmental standards. In the New Jersey Assembly, Upendra Chivukula has a strong record of energy development and policies that preserve our environment - including sponsoring the Global Warming Response Act, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and advocating for a balanced portfolio of energy development.
Jobs and the economy
There are many policy components to spurring economic growth. For our children, it means giving them them the best education to secure future jobs and help them compete in the global economy. Teaching math, science and languages at a high level to help prepare them for the high tech economy. For those who have already entered the workforce or in need of work, we must provide training programs to help adapt to the demands of the modern economy. At every level of education and in the workforce, we must teach people to think critically, award innovation and promote entrepreneurship.
While government is not always the answer, there are ways that it can help. Congress can spur job growth through tax incentives to promote research, product development, investment, and entrepreneurship. Congress can also help small businesses create jobs by eliminating regulation and red tape that hinders job growth and investment. Congress can incentivize clean energy initiatives, infrastructure development, and cut taxes for small businesses.
Fixing our economy and creating jobs will require creativity, common sense, courage and a balanced approach to solving problems. With bold policy and decisive action, there is much that Congress can do to promote the foundations for job growth.
The first thing we must do from a policy perspective is make politicians understand that education is not an expense - its an investment in our economy and the future. Education is the great equalizer between those who have much and those who need more. Its the pathway to economic opportunity.
To that end, Congress must increase investment in education. Our public schools must be encouraged to teach the skills required to compete and thrive in a high-tech economy. Teaching high level math, science and languages in our schools will help prepare students for the modern workforce. Making higher education affordable will help build our middle-class and create economic opportunity. Congressional aid can help prevent students and their families from being saddled by the despair of debt.
With increased investment comes increased responsibility with taxpayer funds. In order to ensure that our children are the beneficiaries of our investment, we must ensure that schools institute research-based reforms that give students the support they need to be successful. We must hold teachers to a high standard and ensure that classroom goals are achieved. Upendra supports all-day preschool, universal full day kindergarten, smaller class sizes, and encourages parental involvement in schools.
Energy and the environment
Representing New Jersey in Congress, Upendra Chivukula will work to preserve standards for our air and water, promote investment in clean energy jobs, and move our country toward energy independence.
Upendra believes that it is critical that the United States invest clean energy technology including wind and solar energy. By providing tax incentives to develop clean energy technologies, Congress can help boost job growth and investment in domestic energy.
Upendra supports increasing federal fuel economy standards for cars, cap and trade emissions programs, laws that protect environmental standards for energy exploration, closing the Halliburton loophole, holding polluters accountable for toxic air pollution, legislation promoting energy efficiency, and renewable energy development.
My DFA Values
This legacy campaign is missing this information
My Campaign is People Powered!
Upendra has been walking the business sections of towns through out the 7th Congressional District on a "Listening Tour" of the small businesses on the main streets. With small businesses creating 2/3 of the jobs in the country, their story is important to listen to----and must be the foundation of help from Washington. The current gridlock created by the extreme right wing/Tea Party forces does nothing to serve the interests of the hard working families and small business owners.
From Upendra's recent "Listening Tour" in Dover, NJ:
"It was a great experience walking in Dover Business District on Blackwell Street which was predominantly Hispanic small businesses. The business ranged from Hair Salons, Restaurants, Dollar Stores, Bakeries, Computer and Mobile Phone stores. There was one Chinese restaurant, a couple of convenience stores owned by Indian American, and Hispanic businesses. Some businesses expressed difficulty in keeping up in the economic downturn, but others were quite optimistic. The language and missing connection with local government seemed apparent that can be addressed with some concerted effort.
Some complained about hygiene issues and some people lacking civic sense in public places. A few drives to promote pride in the neighborhood and addressing safety issues can revitalize the businesses."