Harvard-educated lawyer and family man Goutam U. Jois of Summit this morning formally entered the CD7 Democratic Primary, resigning his position at Gibson Dunn to go full-time after the seat now occupied by U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7).
“In this day and age, the values we sometimes take for granted are under attack,” Jois told InsiderNJ. “Our politics just aren’t working. I think I have a vision and a message to deliver on this district, which includes expanding economic and educational opportunity. I’m a lawyer and I have professional experience with civil rights issues, and have litigated police brutality, LGBT, asylum,
and criminal cases and immigration matters.”
As an attorney, Jois secured justice at the Supreme Court for a young, unarmed, African-American man who was shot by police, he said. He obtained asylum for a gay man from Jamaica, won a major First Amendment case for a police officer, and obtained landmark relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. In addition to his record of defending civil rights, he has represented entrepreneurs as a corporate attorney, litigated cutting-edge business issues, and fought government overreach, he said.
He wants to take that foundation and focus into a campaign to dislodge Lance and help create good, sustainable jobs for the 7th District, he said.
His beef with the incumbent Republican?
“I think first and foremost is he can’t be trusted to be straight with his constituents,” Jois said. “His rhetoric doesn’t match his votes, and he votes with the president 94 or 95% of the time.”
Lance is enabling the Trump Administration, said Jois, who condemned Trump’s decision on the revocation of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) as “cowardly.”
Born and raised in New Jersey, the 35-year old married father of two young children is the son of Indian immigrants. His father built a trucking business that grew from nothing to now employ 70 people.
“I was brought up with fundamentally American values, and I received real opportunities,” said the candidate, who met his future wife as an undergraduate student at Georgetown University. “Now how do we expand those opportunities to more people?
“I’m not a politician,” Jois added. “I don’t have a political background. I’m running for Congress because I think Washington is broken.
In addition to Jois, here are the names on a growing list of Democrats eager to take the fight to Lance.
Lisa Mandelblatt of Westfield, a community activist;
Scott Salmon of Scotch Plains, an attorney;
Bill Knox of Basking Ridge;
Peter Jacob, a social worker who ran last year against Lance and lost;
Linda Weber, a community activist and businesswoman from Berkeley Heights.
Then there is the X Factor, identified as such by a source close to the developing 2018 Democratic Primary, and that’s Christine Liu Chen, Democratic candidate for senate in LD23. Chen’s raised over a quarter of a million dollars in what most people see as a quixotic campaign bid to unseat state Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) in a heavily Republican district. If she performs well in losing to Doherty, Chen could generate some interest, sources say.