Taking aim at "Obamacare" and the national debt, 8th Congressional District candidate Manju Goel outlined her campaign platform Sunday during the Northwest Suburban Republican Family Picnic at Busse Woods Forest Preserve in Elk Grove Village.
Goel, an Aurora resident and conservative who was born in India, hopes to win the Republican primary in March and then take on congresswoman Tammy Duckworth for the 8th district congressional seat. She is backed by a national group of Republicans, including Texas congressman Pete Sessions, who accompanied Goel to Sunday's event.
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This will be Goel's first run for public office, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website.
Sunday's picnic also brought attention to the 8th district's growing Indian-American presence in local Republican circles. Goel was given a traditional Indian welcome by being showered with flower petals.
"America is on the wrong track," Goel said during Sunday's rally, her first public comments since announcing her candidacy. "We are spending $1.60 for every dollar we bring in. We are discouraging rather than encouraging entrepreneurs and job creators with burdensome regulations."
Goel took particular aim at "Obamacare," which she called the "biggest of all job killers."
After working more than five years in the health care industry as a process improvement specialist, Goel said neither patients nor doctors like the Affordable Health Care Act, which she, like many Republicans, refer to as "Obamacare."
"Obamacare has to go, and Tammy Duckworth must go," she said.
Goel said the country must rid itself of debt, and she would support a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.
"Washington spends our hard earned money like there is no tomorrow," she said.
In her campaign literature, Goel said she grew up in a middle-class family in northern India and came to the United States at the age of 21. She has degrees in applied computer science and health care management and served as a process improvement specialist for Advocate Healthcare. Today, she works as a self-employed consultant specializing in process control improvement.
Goel arrived at the event with her backers, Sessions, the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Carol Stream Indian-American businessman Shalli Kumar. Both Sessions and Kumar are chairing a project to field 10 Indian-American GOP Congressional candidates.
During the 2012 campaign, Kumar and other businessmen established an Indian-American SuperPAC to support Duckworth's opponent in the general election, former congressman Joe Walsh.
Kumar told the crowd Sunday that he attended an NRCC leadership meeting in March and said that next year they want to, and can, take back as many as 10 Congressional districts from the Democrats where there are a substantial number of Indian-Americans, including Illinois' 8th district.
Sessions, who spoke before the crowd with a red mark on his forehead to symbolize his solidarity with the Indian-American community, also alluded to the upcoming changes in the nation's health care system.
"The Indian-American community represents about 8 percent of the physicians in this country. They are now personally impacted also," he said.