A 40-year-old Indian-American economic development professional has declared his candidacy for the US Senate from the state of Louisiana. Abhay Patel, from New Orleans, is one of the six Republicans to have entered into this race the seat of which has been vacated by Senator David Vitter who announced last year that he would not seek re-election for the seat.
Currently, the Vice President of business development for the New Orleans Business Alliance, Patel is a former Wall Street investment banker who at one time raised in excess of USD 30 billion for transactions like Hertz’ acquisition of Dollar Thrifty.
“I’m not a career politician. I’m a businessman who learned about hard work and sacrifice by watching my immigrant parents,” Patel said while announcing his candidature. “Over my career, I’ve advised some of our nation’s most important companies, led economic development and promoted the overall growth of our local, state and national economy,” he said making his case to the people of Louisiana.
Observing that for Louisiana to thrive, however, Washington must get out of the way, he said the US Constitution was written to control the size and scope of the federal government, but today Washington controls every aspect of American life.
“I am a Republican who will fight tirelessly to defend our Constitution and to ensure that the people of Louisiana have the power to control our own destiny,” said Mr Patel, whose parents are immigrants from India.
In an interview with the media, Patel said that he wants to improve India-US relationship. “India is fast becoming one of our closest allies and it is important that we continue to grow this burgeoning relationship,” he said.
“With China to its east and Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran to its west, India’s geography makes the nation a critical partner in helping the US and its allies achieve regional and global stability and security.
“In addition, the US can benefit from India’s rising economy, bringing new opportunities in trade, investment, and technology,” Patel said. A graduate of LSU — he also earned his law degree from Boston University — the Indian American intends on running as a next generation Republican, taking over from the older generation and working to create a GOP party that follows a more conservative direction.
As a businessman, Patel believes that the tax code is too complicated and needs reform; however, he will release a tax reform plan later in the summer, which will include two major points: ending taxation of capital gains and repatriating corporate profits held overseas by American corporations.
The U.S. Senate race in Louisiana features a laundry list of candidates. Four Democrats have declared, including lawyer Caroline Fayard, public service commissioner Foster Campbell, businessman Josh Pellerin and Peter Williams. In addition to Patel, other Republicans include U.S. Reps. John Fleming and Charles Boustany Jr., retired colonel Rob Maness, former Congressman Joseph Cao and state treasurer John Kennedy. Troy Herbert, a former state senator, is running as a third-party candidate. The general election is Nov. 8 with a tentative runoff election scheduled for Dec. 10, if necessary