For the most part I try not to get too political over here on the blog. I wholeheartedly believe that each person is entitled to their own opinion, and to their individual voting rights. What’s most important to me is that we all are as educated as possible about the choices we have, and that we get out and vote. This year’s presidential race has been really disheartening. The mud-slinging, the below-the-belt tactics, and the entire tone of this election has left many of us feeling uneasy about the state of affairs within our government. The silver lining on the cloud for me is that it has all been so salacious that it’s fired up people to talk politics in restaurants, pick-up lines, the sidelines of sporting events, and constantly on TV. And that means our children have overheard us for better or worse and have started to ask “Why are people so mad at each other and why are such bad things being said about the people who are running for President?” My hope is that it will make our kids more curious about what it takes to run a respectable and intelligent campaign without alleged law breaking being a part of it. And maybe, just maybe our kids will learn from this and some day run the right kind of campaigns themselves. We need better, brighter, kinder people running for office.
A few weeks back I came home to find Dita Bhargava knocking on my front door. Bhargava is running for State Rep here in CT in the 151st district and she was literally knocking on doors to introduce herself to potential voters. I can’t say that after a ten minute conversation I know exactly who she is or what she stands for, but I was impressed that she was literally “on the streets” sharing her voice. We had a lovely chat about why local politicians matters, and it got me thinking about how I need to dig deeper and do more research about local politicians instead of just pulling the lever for any one party. I want to wisely choose specific people, because if this election has taught us anything it is that the party system has some serious flaws and being a Republican or a Democrat no longer draws a clear line in the sand when it comes to where you stand on taxes, gun control, abortion, healthcare, and education. Let’s be the generation that speaks up, stands up, votes, and brings about change for generations to come.
Bhargava was kind enough to answer my questions over email and I thought my readers might also be interested in knowing a little more about this candidate who is running for office here in our town.
Q&A with Dita Bhargava, Candidate for Connecticut House of Representatives (District 151)
Where are you from and what is your family’s story?
I was born and raised in Canada and moved to New York City in 1995 and to Greenwich in 2007. My parents were immigrants from India. My mom and dad were divorced when I was 7 years old leaving my mother to raise my sisters and me on her own. We had difficulty affording basic needs, but my mom gave us plenty of encouragement every day of our lives to educate ourselves so that we always had the ability to stand on our own two feet no matter what. This advice lead us to economic liberty.
Where has your career taken you in the last 15 years?
After graduating with an Electrical Engineering degree, I decided to move to NYC and enter the finance world. I worked as a Currency Trader and Hedge Fund Portfolio Manger for two decades. The last several years of my career and especially after I had my own kids, I reflected back to my own childhood struggles as the daughter of a single immigrant parent. I felt extremely blessed to have the comforts in life that surrounded me, but equally passionate that I should help those who continue to suffer with the same struggles that my mom did. I joined the Boards of several non profit organizations that help aid underserved communities, promote cultural awareness, and work towards advancing gender parity. I also went to Hartford to speak at public hearings in support of legislation that would help empower women to stay in the workforce.
Why did you decide to run for office?
After spending several years searching for ways to engage in civic duty, last May I was asked by members of the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee to run for State Representative. I accepted this nomination because I feel that if I have a voice in policy making, it would really give me the ability to move the needle as much as possible in enacting positive change in my community.
Are you a typical Democrat?
I have not quite figured out what the definition of a ‘typical Democrat’ or ‘typical Republican’ is but that’s probably because I am a Moderate and also because I am not a politician. I spent my entire post college life working in Wall Street firms and in my spare time, helping with non profit initiatives. I am running for office because I believe our town and State needs a new direction. Residents of Greenwich are leaving, taxes are high and life for many has become unaffordable or expensive. I love this town and State and want us all to be able to have a future here, especially our kids. I plan to take my two decades of financial sector experience, help restore fiscal responsibility in our State and bring businesses back so that we stop taxing individuals and businesses and driving them out but find a much more organic way to raise revenues. I suppose I am a different kind of politician, one that is not worried about her next election but truly worried about the future of Greenwich and a fiscally conservative, socially responsible citizen of Greenwich with a vision for change.
What should people know about how/why local politicians matter?
My vision of being a politician is to really engage the people that I am representing. I would like to form a moderate caucus of Fairfield County residents, Democrats and Republicans who help formulate the best possible fiscal and economic ideas for our State. Greenwich is filled with smart, out-of-the-box thinkers who could have a great impact on the future of our State. Unfortunately because its been over 100 years that a Democrat has been elected to represent Greenwich in the State Assembly, our voice in Greenwich is never heard. We keep sending Republicans up to a Democratic majority and even if they have good ideas, they get shut out at the door.
What are some of the changes you would like to see made in our state?
I have knocked on over 4,000 doors in a very socio-economically diverse district and no matter who I speak to about issues that they face, it always boils down to the fact that the State is a fiscal and budgetary mess.
As a State Representative, I plan to help form much stronger alliances between government, business sectors and universities in a vision to create a much more pro-business eco-system in Connecticut.
I plan to introduce public-private partnerships that work to keep college graduates in CT, invest in education, infrastructure and transportation.
I plan to keep our communities safe and healthy by working on safer gun legislation and fighting the growing epidemic of opioid addiction disease.
How does a state rep bring about change on a bigger scale?
To succeed as a State Representative, I plan to introduce and vote on legislative bills that focus on long term solutions for Connecticut’s economic prosperity. As one of the only women in my career for twenty years, I am used to fighting harder than my peers and having my voice heard. I plan to bring my negotiation skills and fighting spirit to Hartford and have real and positive impact on policy making and to also give Greenwich a seat at the table.