An Indian American investment firm founder is looking to make waves in public service, running for Congress in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District.
Harry Arora, 48, of Greenwich, Conn., filed his paperwork to run for the seat in late December, seeking the Republican Party nomination (see India-West article here).
With no other opponent filing for the race, he will bypass the Aug. 14 primary and head directly to the Nov. 6 general against Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Himes.
Arora told India-West he came to the U.S. as a student with nothing and grew to found a successful business, ARCIM Advisors LLC, an investment management firm focused on commodities.
The candidate, who fought and survived cancer, has also helped with other campaigns in the past. It was his battle with cancer that led him to shift his focus from business to public service, Arora said.
With his background in investing, and as an analyst and investment manager, he believes he is well suited to utilize his skill set in public office.
“I understand how good policy and right incentives bring economic and social progress and improve standard of living,” Arora told India-West in an email. “Most elected officials do not understand this well enough and are unduly influenced by short term hype on one side and vested interests on the other.”
Arora said Himes has “totally failed” the district that encompasses parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties.
“Connecticut has never recovered fully from the great recession. Businesses and talent are fleeing the state because of the hostile policy environment – we are in a vicious cycle and our elected officials are oblivious to it,” he said.
“I am running for the U.S. Congress to propose and advocate policies which will help my state get back on track. I want to bring back honest discussion in our national debate,” the candidate added.
Arora said he intends to bring a rigorous and candid dialogue on the issues the country and his state faces today. He told India-West that there is no vested interest in his candidacy, saying it is simply for the people.
Elaborating on his own talents versus those of his opponent Himes, Arora says he has a high standard of intellectual rigor and an ability to grasp policy. Additionally, he boasts that he is an independent thinker who listens to all but isn’t held down by special interests. Arora continued by saying he enjoys working with others to find common ground.
“I am honest about the challenges we face and am proud of my country and my people,” Arora said. “Jim Himes is none of the above.”
The challenger said that Himes is a “rubber stamp for the party leadership,” adding that he is someone who you can see on TV every day “as the attack person of the party.”
“I have passion and energy about the issues and my district, (Himes) pays lip sympathy and is more interested in party politics,” Arora told India-West. “I believe in pluralism and competitive economy – he believes in control and government mandated systems. I believe in the art of getting things done and solving problems and he believes in making noises and pointing fingers.
“I could go on and on. We are two different people,” he added. “I stand for hope, he stands for gloom.”
Arora, in explaining how his experience sets him up to succeed in Congress, said he spent a year at Harvard Kennedy School to study and research how to evolve this thinking and apply it to public policy.
Describing himself as a straight talker who makes no effort to confuse others, Arora said he is “genuine about my desire to do good.”
“It is the combination of intellect, passion and genuine desire to serve, which people see and feel when they meet me. That is what is going to win this race for me,” he asserted to India-West.
Arora, if elected, would likely join a growing group of Indian American members of Congress — Ro Khanna and Ami Bera of California, Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois — but would be the first hailing from the East Coast.
“A large number of Indian Americans are first generation and have become American citizens in recent years. They have been busy in their personal fights – to raise their families, to do well at their jobs, build businesses and careers. Indian Americans are highly educated, hardworking and entrepreneurial,” he said.
“I am glad to see that so many other Indians are running for office. It is not easy. Perhaps the time has come. Indian Americans are well represented in banking, legal, technology and so many other professions. It is now time they step up to the challenge of public office.”
The candidate added that if 2 percent of the country is of Indian ethnicity, the government should have nine Indian origin representatives and two senators. By those standards, the community is halfway there, with four representatives in the House and one — Kamala Harris of California — in the Senate.
Should Arora take over as a congressional representative, he promises to get the state economy back on track by attracting businesses to the area in key areas where it has a competitive edge, including finance, insurance and corporate.
Fairfield County, within the 4th District, is home to many of the aforementioned sectors in which the area can dominate.
“We are known for financial companies — small and large. Mr. Himes and his party like litigating and suing financial firms and putting roadblocks in their path – that does not help,” Arora noted.
Outside of the economy, Arora hopes to make healthcare affordable for the middle class and reduce transportation congestion, among other issues.
“I want to make the government do more for less. More services for less money by focusing on efficiency and technology,” he said.