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Republican candidate for Calif. governor spent week as homeless man

"Over-regulation and over-taxation" are to blame for California's high unemployment, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari said after week as homeless man.
By Frances Burns   |   July 31, 2014 at 2:27 PM
| License Photo

SACRAMENTO, July 31 (UPI) -- Neel Kashkari, the Republican candidate for governor of California, spent last week searching for work and food as a "homeless man" in Fresno.

Kashkari described his experience in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. He said he traveled to Fresno on a Greyhound bus with $40, one change of clothes and a toothbrush.

The goal of his trip was to get a close look at what the "California Comeback" looks like to the poorest state residents, Kashkari said. He said he expected as a healthy 41-year-old to be able to find some sort of job.

"Over the next seven days, I walked mile after mile in 100-degree heat searching for a job," he said. "I offered to do anything: wash dishes, sweep floors, pack boxes, cook meals, anything. I went to dozens of businesses in search of work but wasn't able to get any."

When his money ran low, Kashkari said, he was forced to stay close to Poverello House, the homeless shelter where he could get meals. That limited his job search.

Kashkari blamed Gov. Jerry Brown, who is favored to win in November, and the Democratic legislature.

"California's record poverty is man-made: over-regulation and over-taxation that drive jobs out of state, failing schools that don't prepare students for the skilled work force and misguided water policies that prevent us from saving surplus water in wet years to prepare for our inevitable droughts," he said.

Kashkari said the economic slump did not affect just the poorest Californians. He found a photographer who was working in a coffee shop because his business had fallen off and a woman who said the drought had forced her family of farm workers to turn to a food bank for assistance.

His week on the streets was recorded on video. Kashkari is an investment banker who supervised the troubled assets relief program under President George W. Bush.

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