- The Indian American made history in 2017 by becoming the first and only Indian American in the state Senate, as well as the first Democrat in 30 years to win the 11th District seat and at 32, the youngest legislator in New Jersey’s upper house.
New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) is poised to become the next chairman of the Senate Education Committee, the New Jersey Globe reported. He is said to be the choice of incoming Senate President Nicholas Scutari, the report added. The Indian American lawmaker will succeed Teresa Ruiz (D-Newark), who will serve as Senate Majority Leader in the next session.
This past November, Gopal, 36, narrowly edged past Republican Lori Annett in a tight race in District 11 which makes up much of southern Monmouth County, including Colts Neck, Asbury Park, Deal, Eatontown, Freehold, Long Branch, Neptune, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury and Tinton Falls.
In his bid for a second term this year, Gopal had the endorsement of the New Jersey Education Association, “the state’s largest public employee union,” the New Jersey Globe report added.
According to the report, Gopal “has enjoyed a meteoric rise since ousting three-term GOP State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank) in 2017.” At the time, Gopal made history by becoming the first and only Indian American in the state Senate, as well as the first Democrat in 30 years to win the 11th District seat and at 32, the youngest legislator in New Jersey’s upper house.
He is the New Jersey Senate Majority Conference Leader, chairman of the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, vice-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and serves on the Senate Economic Growth Committee and Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.
As a freshman senator, he chaired the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and joined the leadership team as Majority Conference Leader, a position he will continue this year.
A small-business owner and a lifelong Monmouth County resident, Gopal was born in Neptune Township and raised in Freehold. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Penn State, he spent years building his business from the ground up; and is based out of Tinton Falls and Hazlet. As a successful small business owner, Gopal was the president of the Hazlet Township Business Owners Association and served on the Board of Directors for the Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce, where he chaired the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee.