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Ricky Gill to run for Congress

Last updated on: May 20, 2011 21:22 IST

Twenty-Four year old Ricky Gill, if elected will be the youngest and first Indian-American to represent the San Joaquin County that falls under the California 11th Congressional District.

Gill announced this on Tuesday to an assembled crowd of about 100-plus people gathered outside Lodi Memorial Hospital, where he was born. "Today is a great day to start our journey for my candidacy for Congress," said Gill over phone to rediff.com.

He said there are about 700,000 people in the San Joaquin County but today there is not a single state or federal legislator to represent. So this year, "We need to have some leadership from this county to address the problems. In terms of reducing unemployment which is the biggest issue we face," said Gill.

Gill is a Republican and the present 11th Congressional District, is represented by Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton. The San Joaquin County is a valley in Central California that lies south of the Sacramento.

At present, Gill is a law student at UC Berkeley, California and has been involved in public service since his high school days. In July 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Gill to the California State Board of Education, making him the youngest member of the administration and the sole representative of more than six million public school students.

He strongly believes in promoting education in his county. But is concerned about the bad economy said the economy is so broken here that young people do not return after high school. They stay in Southern California and do not return to the valley.

"So we have to reorder our priorities here and have to find out ways to boost agriculture through exports. I would say San Joaquin County can work in a positive way in the Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley is booming now, and I would like to see some expansion occur here," said GIll.

"I believe we have to make sure that federal regulations are consistent with economic growth, I am a big believer in tort reform," he added.

The San Joaquin County, which is known for cherry, asparagus and wine grapes, has seen downturn due to recent recession.

"The agriculture in this county is a $2 billion annual industry. So, it is significant for us that when we are negotiating these trade agreements there needs to be emphasis on agriculture. We need to have a voice there, who can protect the farmers in the San Joaquin County," said Gill.

Gill parents Param and Jasbir Gill are physicians in San Joaquin County.

Gill, who completed his high school from San Joaquin, and went to Princeton University in New Jersey to study Public Policy said, "Like a true Californian I had to come back."

However, the Congressional boundaries may change because of redistricting of the boundaries.

Chris Clark, spokesperson for Gill, said, "The district lines are due to be redrawn by August 15, 2011, so we don't know precisely what the new boundaries will look like. However, given the guidelines governing the commission charged with this task, the district could very likely include most or all of San Joaquin County."

"Currently, portions of the Bay Area (including the incumbent's residence) are included in the district, he added. 

"We predict this won't be true of the newly formed district," said Clark. San Joaquin County includes places such as Stockton, Lodi, Tracy, and Manteca.

Ritu Jha