In 1986 Ravi Singh attended a college preparatory, military academy, and catholic boys school in Aurora, Illinois, by the name of Marmion. Little did he realize that he would not only receive a high school education but a lesson in one of the fundamental principals of the US constitution: "Freedom of Religion." Ravi was asked to remove his turban to attend the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) which was a mandatory requirement of the school curriculum. This lead to legislation in the United States Congress headed by Congressman Porter from Illinois and followed by now Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. After extensive lobbying by Ravi and his family, ground breaking legislation was introduced and signed by Ronald Reagan allowing Ravi to practice his belief and attend the military Academy at the same time, thus allowing Ravi Singh to become historically the first Sikh to wear a turban in a USA military academy. The legislation was later overturned by the Armed Forces. However, the Secretary of Defense authorized a special waiver to cadet Ravi Singh. Allowing him to graduate with full military honors as 2nd Lt.
Later, he earned a Masters Degree in Political Science from Northwestern University in only nine months. Following graduation, he served as an aid to Lieutenant Governor Bob Kustra, writing policy analysis for Kustra on statehouse legislation involving crime, education and budget matters. Until he resigned last month, Singh served as Director of Community Relations for State Treasurer Judy Barr Topinka. Singh has also been active helping Republican candidates such as Senator Bob Dole, Governor Jim Edgar, Sheriff John Zaruba, and Aurora Mayor John Stover.
Ravi Singh, Aurora native and Marmion Academy Graduate announced today his intention to run for State Representative in the 42nd district. If Singh, a Sikh, is successful in his bid for the General Assembly seat, he would be the first Asian-American of any ethnic group to be elected to the statehouse in Illinois. The district encompasses Aurora, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Montgomery and St. Charles. The seat is currently held by Republican Susan Deuchler, who will not be running for re-election.
Singh, who has been working on his election plans for several months, has put together a coalition of groups and organizations to assist in running what he says will be a grass roots campaign. As of his announcement date, Singh had already raised $25,000. Because of his early organizing and fundraising, he is expected to be a major player in the upcoming Republican primary in the 42nd district.