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Why I’m Voting for Neel Kashkari

I really wasn’t planning to get involved in the California Governor’s race, but I felt the need after seeing Tim Donnelley’s outrageous comments about Neel Kashkari a couple of weeks ago.

Let me take a moment to set the stage for why you should vote for Neel Kashkari – whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent.

If you’re a Californian, you are paying higher taxes than most to keep your house, run your business, and put food on the table. Gov. Jerry Brown will probably get re-elected even though California’s glitter as the “Golden State” is more like seeing yourself in tin foil now. Still, Brown shouldn’t go unchallenged.

You might ask why it matters if Gov. Brown faces Neel Kashkari or Tim Donnelley?

Here’s why it matters.

Tim Donnelley has demonstrated that he is unfit for the top job in the largest state in the U.S. Donnelley’s recent tirade alleging that Neel Kashkari is associated with fundamentalist Islam and Sharia Law proves his unfitness to serve as California’s commander in chief.

Here are the facts. Neel Kashkari was recruited by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to run the Troubled Asset Relief program. He was unanimously confirmed as Assistant Secretary by the U.S. Senate (no small feat in a partisan Congress) as the best person to run this program.

Yes, it was an unpopular program during the bank bail-out in 2008, but Kashkari turned a major negative in to a big positive by writing and passing legislation that prevented economic collapse of the country’s financial institutions.

In managing the program, Kashkari not only recouped all the government money that was spent, but made a $13 billion profit for taxpayers. For this, he received the Alexander Hamilton Award – the Department’s Highest Honor.

Neel KashkariKashkari: He’s Young, But He Can Play

If you take a moment to look at Neel’s story, you’ll be impressed. His story is woven into the fabric of the American dream – the kind of dream my Grandparents came here for – and the kind of dream we thought of when we first heard Ronald Reagan’s “city on a hill” speech.

Kashkari is only 40 years old now, 6 years after achieving such success in turning a negative program into a financial success.

Sounds like Neel is an over-achiever, doesn’t it?

Maybe that’s why his rival on the Republican side – Tim Donnelley – accused him of being associated with radical Islam – once again. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Though Kashkari was born in the USA, his family emigrated from India. Tim Donnelley doesn’t seem to know the difference between India and Arab nations, their culture, their religion, and most importantly, their laws.

As the story goes, Kashkari once attended a financial conference sponsored by the Bush Administration that discussed micro-financing in Arab countries who practiced Sharia Law. It turned out that the conference on Islamic finance was in reality, a conference to talk about how free market principles could work in the Muslim world.

Diplomacy Matters.

Many people don’t realize is that though President Bush was strongly against terrorism, he, like Ronald Reagan, wanted to promote America’s free market principles and our way of life to help other people become financially independent across the globe.

President George W. Bush was very serious about diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Arab nations whose cultures were very different than our own.

I know it first-hand. In 2004, I served as a delegate on the Inaugural Mission of the Partners in Participation program at the U.S. State Department. I was a Member of the Bush Administration and among a team of Republicans and Democrats that were hand-picked by the International Republican Institute and the International Democrat Union to travel overseas to Doha, Qatar. The mission trained Arab women from 6 countries to run for office and serve in public service. It was a great honor and a mission I was proud to be a part of.

This conference in an Arab country and the Islamic finance conference in the United States were ways President Bush’s Administration helped to educate others and build a better relationship between the United States and the anti-terrorist Muslim world.

It’s because of this that I personally find Tim Donnelley’s actions abhorrent, anti-Bush, and racist against Mr. Kashkari. Kashkari is smart. He has worked hard, built alliances across party lines, and has gotten things done that save taxpayers money. All at the young age of 40.

If you care about California, consider joining former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Congressman Darrell Issa, and former California Governor Pete Wilson in supporting Neel Kashkari.

It’s a choice you won’t regret and one that won’t embarrass you.

Judy Lloyd served as Western Region Rep for the U.S. Department of Labor during President G.W. Bush’s Administration and also as Correspondence Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during President Ronald Reagan’s Administration. She served as Special Assistant to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and has been involved in every Presidential campaign since 1984. She owns her own business in California, is the wife of an innovator and mother to a high school baseball player.