Abhijit Das, the president and chief executive officer of Troca Hotels, Sept. 25 announced his candidacy for Congress in Massachusetts’ 3rd District.
Running as a Democrat, the Indian American candidate, who made an official announcement on his birthday amidst friends, family and community members at the Stonehedge Hotel and Spa in Tyngsborough, Mass., is vying to win the seat being vacated by Niki Tsongas in the fall of 2018.
Though filing as a Democrat — which he said he will do Oct. 2 — Das has an open-minded view on politics that is an antithesis to the norm.
“As most of you know, I'm not a fan of (President) Donald Trump," Das said, adding that the unequivocal denunciation of hatred, bigotry and racism should be a prerequisite to running for president. "That notwithstanding, we should not demonize those who voted for him nor can we simply ignore their voices. It is by engaging other viewpoints that we ultimately achieve understanding, compromise and progress," he said.
Das grew up and resides in North Andover, just outside of the district, though he has said he plans to move to Lowell, within the district, a city which he said is like a second home to him.
Growing up, he spent many a days at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell where his mother taught sociology.
During his speech, Das credited his parents, who both came to the U.S. looking to achieve the American dream, for instilling a passion within him.
Das attended the Brooks School in North Andover and earned his bachelor of arts in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont, as well as taking a year of classes at UMass Lowell.
He later earned a law degree at the University of Michigan’s law school, focusing on constitutional law and the American political sector.
“It was there (at the University of Michigan) that I learned the power of democracy,” he said.
Early in his career, Das served as law clerk to U.S. District of Maryland Judge Benson Legg for a year. There, Das said he was witness to the power of the federal government, its compassion and its injustice.
Before starting Troca Hotels in 2011, Das was senior director of development for Hilton Hotels in South Asia, resurrecting 28 hotels in India from none.
With Troca Hotels, Das’ mission is to revitalize communities, which he says is in line with his hopes in the 3rd Congressional District.
“Our state of the economy is troubling,” Das noted. “Something is not working and we need to fix that. We must work diligently to turn this place to one of opportunity and innovation.”
The Indian American touched on his platform, which he said should focus on the economy, innovation, education and the mental health crisis, among other issues.
“Washington is broken. I entered the possibility of this race because I saw friends (on both sides) shouting at each other,” Das said. “True dialogue is what we need. We need someone who is going to cross over that line and say, 'let's talk.'”
The candidate, in an open minded comment, said politics cannot be framed as a battle between good and evil.
“This district reflects the broad range of political viewpoints that are coursing through America,” he said. “We have an opportunity to elect a representative who will faithfully listen to all.”
Das said he is that representative.