SACRAMENTO (AP) — Those who have heard of Neel Kashkari know him as the former U.S. Treasury official who was in charge of the bank bailout at the height of the recession.
Now the 40-year-old Ohio native and Orange County resident wants Californians to know him as a possible candidate for governor.
Kashkari, the son of Indian immigrants, is considering entering next year’s campaign as the third Republican challenger to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has raised $13 million for a re-election bid but has not formally announced he is running for another term.
Kashkari spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday about why he is considering seeking the office and about his positions on a host of issues facing California.
A political neophyte who has never run for public office, Kashkari said he has a libertarian view of social issues. He supports gay marriage and abortion rights, for example.
He also said voters should have a say in a law taking effect in January that gives transgender students in public schools the right to define their own sex when choosing a bathroom or which sports team to play on. Opponents of the law are trying to qualify a referendum to overturn it on next year’s ballot.
While he has not committed to a campaign, Kashkari said he is building a political platform based on the themes of improving the state’s economy, reducing California’s 23 percent poverty rate and improving schools.
As he formulates his positions on a host of issues, Kashkari has spent the last several months in opposing worlds — meeting with the poor, many at homeless shelters, as well as the wealthy who could help him fund a campaign.
Sounding common Republican themes, he discussed job creation, cutting regulations and providing incentives to businesses to move to California. But he said his view is “the opposite of trickle-down economics.”
He said he would embrace “the exact opposite” campaign style from the infamous quote in which 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was caught on tape disparagingly referring to the 47 percent of the population who would never vote for him.
“Here’s the young son of immigrants who’s running for governor of California, and my entire platform and message is about reaching those who have been left behind and empowering them with a quality education and a good job,” he said of a potential campaign.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)