A longtime New Jersey Assemblyman is now hoping to win a seat in Congress.

Democrat Upendra Chivukula said Monday night that he plans to seek his party's nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Leonard Lance in the state's 7th district. If he gets the nod, it would be his first bid for federal office.

The 61-year-old Franklin Township resident is an electrical engineer who came to the United States from India when he was 24. A 10-year Assembly veteran who became deputy speaker in 2007, Chivukula is New Jersey's first and only Indian-American lawmaker. He's been highly involved with legislation that promotes job creation and clean energy.

Chivukula said if elected to the House, he would work to end the gridlock in Washington and focus on improving the economy.

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