Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari says he's committed to rebuilding middle class

SAN DIEGO - The Republican gubernatorial candidate for California wants to unite San Diego's Republican Party behind him.

Neel Kashkari made his first major speech since last week's primary Monday evening at Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley.

Kashkari told the crowd he came from humble beginnings.

"I'm committed to rebuilding the middle class," he said. "I grew up middle class myself. My parents were immigrants from India. My first job was bagging groceries."

Kashkari started his career in aerospace engineering before becoming an investment banker. He entered public service working in the Treasury Department for President George W. Bush.

Even though this is his first time running, the Republican believes incumbent Jerry Brown can be beat.

"He's not going to be able to ignore me and when we make him answer for the state of our economy, for the lack of jobs, for the destruction of the middle class, for crime, for the train," said Kashkari.

During the primary, Kashkari ran an ad that featured him chopping wood and destroying a toy train. 10News asked him if he thought the ad was effective.

"It's a nice metaphor for cutting wasteful spending and there's no more wasteful spending than the high-speed train," said Kashkari.

The Laguna Beach resident said he has nothing against mass transit, but he thinks the money should be spent on water storage to help deal with the state's drought.

Roughly 28 percent of registered voters in the state are Republican. Kashkari compared his campaign to that of Kevin Faulconer for San Diego mayor.

"He said let's get united on the economy, on jobs. Let's lift everyone up and you didn't just win, you crushed the labor-funded Democrat," said Kashkari.

He said he will focus on creating jobs for the middle class and education.

"I've lived the American Dream because I got a good education and a fair chance to work hard. That's my vision," he said. "I want every kid in California to have the good opportunity that I had."

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