MEET BEEJ DAS
I'm a constitutional lawyer by training, but an entrepreneur at heart. I'm a registered Democrat, but I think and act independently. I've built an innovative hotel company with over one hundred full-time employees in three states from the ground up, but I'm leaving it to run for elected office. Many have asked why. I have a calling to our community, to our country, and to our world to do more. This is my story. Thank you for taking the time to read it. I hope you will join me. Let's do more together.
MEET MY FOLKS and THEIR AMERICAN DREAM
My parents both immigrated to America to build a better life for me. Mom and dad arrived in America in the 1960's and together they studied as foreign students in a land far from home. They eventually both received their Ph.D.s at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. My mother Mitra, received her doctorate in Sociology and was offered a teaching position at Lowell State College. Her salary was nearly twenty percent lower than male professors hired at the same time which President O'Leary justified on the basis that mom had a husband who worked. That experience still informs my opinion about gender based disparities in the workplace. I am proud to say that mom co-founded
the Sociology Department at UMass Lowell, and has now been there for 45 years. She is a leading scholar on family studies, women's issues, immigration, the intersection of technology, values and society, and the sociology of food. She's been a proud union member of the Massachusetts Teachers Association since the early 1970's when the campus unionized. It is safe to say that I am a feminist because of mom and am inspired by her every day.
Having been born in a village without running water, my father Mukti became one of America's top engineers. His inspirational story started when he left India in the early 1960's with $8 in his pocket, a small suitcase, and a ticket to Germany, a country whose language he did not speak. Over the next few years, he learned German fluently and saved every German Mark he made as a young engineer. He left Germany for America's shores with a dream and a desire to work hard to achieve it. Dad rose through the ranks through a willingness to work harder and do more. Dad achieved so that he could help others. Without being asked, he brought the majority of his eight brothers and sisters to America and housed, fed and educated them all. Selfless service to society is the legacy that dad continues to live.
Today, as he turns 80, dad is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and senior investigator on the American Board of Engineering and Technology. Dad's mind has been behind some of the most impressive engineering feats of the past half century, including signature buildings and bridges across the world, General Electric's jet engines, Boston's Big Dig, Logan Airport, and John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse. His specialty in recent years has been blast resistant design, designing structures that keep people safe even when terrorists do their best to do us harm. He is indeed my hero.
MY EARLY TASTE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Dad has been my professional mentor for over three decades. Never satisfied with the status quo, he taught me to always question how things are done and why. My lifelong quest to do more is born of his unbelievable work ethic. I started helping dad when I was twelve. I wrote software, designed and authored user documentation and provided technical support for our clients, including GE's engine division in nearby Lynn. Needless to say, I learned the fundamentals of structures and engineering well before I could drive. I worked at dad's company, Das Consulting, Inc. in Lawrence,
through high school and college. It was while working there that, at age fifteen, I won a bid for a large contract for the United States Navy for advanced linguistic systems at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, becoming the youngest person in history to do so.
FORMAL EDUCATION and CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
From Pike School in Andover, I went to Brooks School in North Andover, and UMass Lowell before graduating with my Political Science degree from Middlebury College in Vermont. I was deeply interested in American political institutions and the pursuit of justice in society. I was the President of the Young Democrats and was an early volunteer for Gov. Michael Dukakis in 1988. I volunteered my time in college and and worked with Planned Parenthood defending a woman's right to choose. As the editor-in-chief of the Middlebury College Journal of Politics, I studied and wrote about everything from Aristotle to anarchy. World events would prove our words were often prophetic; my dear friend Jeffrey Bittner wrote in the journal about the rising danger of fundamentalism in the post-Cold War world. Only a few years later, Jeff would lose his life on the 89th floor of World Trade Center Two during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
After college and a few years in the finance world, I went to study law at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. The value of being surrounded by folks smarter than oneself was never more apparent to me than in law school
classes with my professors and peers. I studied criminal law with the "father" of the Miranda warnings, Prof. Yale Kamisar, constitutional law with Prof. Don Regan, whose theories were enshrined in the part affirmation of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and gender equality with Prof. Catherine MacKinnon, whose pioneering legal work first led to the recognition of rape as an act of genocide.
After law school, I became federal law clerk to Hon. Judge Benson Everett Legg of the United States District Court for Maryland where I helped decide cases ranging from civil rights, affirmative action and discrimination, commercial disputes, intellectual property, to drugs and
other criminal matters. Judge Legg was appointed by President George H. W. Bush and considered moderately conservative, yet he sought to hire liberal law clerks to work for him. His decision to elevate viewpoints and political ideas contrary to his own not only improved the quality of his opinions, but also helped transform and moderate my own political philosophy. My experiences within the judiciary showed me both the beauty and power of the Federal government, but also its injustice and waste. Those who are entrusted with power have an august responsibility to wield it with respect and care, something I shall never forget.
FROM BIG LAW TO SMALL BUSINESS IN THE THIRD DISTRICT
After my federal clerkship, I returned to UMass Lowell to teach sociology of law classes and started a career at leading Boston law firms, including the famed technology and VC firm Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault and real estate and corporate powerhouse Goulston & Storrs. I found the thrill of teaching young minds exhilarating, even as I taught three hour classes after a full day of working as a lawyer. After leaving the law firm world, I became a hotel developer, first with Hilton Worldwide, then with my own company, Troca Hotels, in Tyngsboro. The focus of the company I've built is creating profitable and sustainable hotels in in interesting under-served communities that need them. It's a lot easier to make money building fancy hotels
in big cities but it is far more rewarding to do what we do. When we bought our first hotel in Brunswick, Maine, it was a continually insolvent bank-owned property. Today, that property, The Daniel Hotel, is a thriving and highly rated asset which employs nearly fifty full time employees. I've worked hard to build our business, employing over 70 employees in the Third District at our third hotel, The Stonehedge Hotel & Spa, and dozens more outside it. When our hotel was shut down for a flood last year, I fought to keep all of our employees for the nearly six months we were closed. I risked my own personal finances to ensure we paid full payroll to each and every employee during our reconstruction. Running a business isn't just a way to make a profit, it's an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of communities.
CHANGE IN WASHINGTON AND WHY I'M RUNNING
So, why am I running and what do I believe differentiates me from the rest of the field? Sen. Paul Tsongas wrote that Washington politicians must experience having their "financial survival riding on a startup business struggling under the burden of the high costs of American capital" because Sen. Tsongas knew that politicians in Washington are disconnected from the realities of their constituents and the economies in which they live; a fact as true today as it was back then. Politicians in Washington have become overgrown unruly children who can neither get along nor get out of each other's way. We're stuck with an expensive, dysfunctional and unbecoming political system. Politicians embrace a polarized view of the world because it helps them win. Meanwhile, our country suffers.
Unlike the rest of the field, I have not spent my career as a politician. I've never run for office or worked for one and I'm not beholden to special interests. I have worn many hats professionally and personally over the years. As an American born child of immigrants, I've had to balance differences all my life. It has given me significant insight into how to approach difficult problems and challenging objectives. I have friends and supporters who are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. We all want an American government as worthy as its people. I am proud that hundreds of my fellow citizens have joined our movement. I want to do more. I know we can. Let's do more together.
Please visit my issues page to read more about my positions on the critical issues that face our district, our commonwealth and our country.