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Arati Kreibich
Glen Rock Councilwoman Arati Kreibich

Kreibich says South Asian women face obstacles as candidates

Bergen Democrat faces Gottheimer, the Human Fundraising Machine

By David Wildstein, September 20 2019 9:06 am

A Glen Rock councilwoman who is challenging Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) from the left in the 2020 Democratic primary says that South Asian women running for office must face overcome some hurdles within the South Asian community, where becoming involved in politics is sometimes frowned upon.

“Good girls don’t do this. Politics is dirty. Have we heard this before?” said Arati Kreibich. “The stigma that’s attached for fighting for the things that are right, fighting for the people that you want to represent, fighting for your kids’ futures — that starts at home.”

Kreibich was a panelist at the I AM IMPACT Summit this week in Washington, which focused on Indian Americans becoming involved in community affairs.

She said that to run for office, South Asian women need to overcome the stigma by explaining that public service is just as important as medicine and engineering.

“I’m proud to have been born in India. I’m proud to be a naturalized American citizen. I’m proud to be a neuroscientist. I’m proud to be a mom to two feminist boys…I’m really proud to be an elected council member and doing a lot for my town,” Kreibich said. “People vote for you and support you because of all the different perspectives that you or I bring to the table and the things that we’re fighting for.”

In making her decision to run for Conrgess, Kreibich said she will focus on health care, immigration,  and “making sure we’re protecting out kids’ future and our planet’s future.”

“I didn’t see that with the congressional representative we have now,” Kreibich said.

She faces a tough race against Gottheimer, known as the Human Fundraising Machine.  He had a $5.7 million war chest after the second quarter of this year.

Hours after Kreibich entered the race, all four Democratic county chairs in the 5th district announced their support of Gottheimer for re-election to a third term.  So did Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, the liberal lion of the New Jersey Senate.

In 2016, Gottheimer defeated seven-term Rep. Scott Garrett (R-Wantage), the most conservative Republican congressman from the northeast.

The 5th district has 5,565 more Democrats than Republicans and has become increasingly more favorable to Democrats since 2012, when the new congressional map was drawn to give the GOP a 13,085 registration advantage.  Donald Trump won the 5th by one percentage point in 2016, and Mitt Romney by three points in 2012.

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