Alumnus and future Congress candidate Aditya Pai

Mihir Kulkarni, Staff Writer

As politics become increasingly divisive, many Americans feel disconnected with the current political climate. The intense partisanship that plagues Washington D.C. distracts from the pressing issues in America and the everyday needs of its citizens. To help change the way politics work, Northwood Class of 2009 alumnus Aditya Pai ran for Congress with a new approach. Although he decided to end his campaign recently, Pai sat down with The Howler to talk about how growing up in the community has influenced him and his campaign.

During his time at Northwood, Pai excelled in Speech and Debate and was the co-editor for the Accent page on The Howler. Here, he discovered his love for public speaking and writing, leading him to graduate with a law degree from Harvard Law School. His participation in various activities as well as Pai’s active work in the community allowed him to interact with new people and truly come into his own.

“The main value Northwood taught me is to get involved,” Pai said. “The more you try to contribute to the community around you, the more people invest back in you too.”

He wanted to represent this idea with his campaign, shown by the public service projects it undertook in the community. These include college admissions and accessibility workshops at local high schools, as well as immigration clinics for those navigating naturalization issues.

Giving back as part of the campaign is a new approach to running for Congress, as candidates usually focus most of their money on advertisements and attacking the other side. Although he ended his campaign, Pai is continuing his initiatives with the goal of changing the way politics works, and he plans to run for office in the future to pursue this mission.

“Politics right now is mainly about winning elections by destroying the other side,” Pai said. “Our campaign was about building people up rather than tearing them down.”

Pai wants to focus on three major aspects with his political endeavors: learning, service and dialogue. His efforts have culminated into an upcoming website called Discover 45, a community initiative centered around promoting these three aspects within District 45. Each aspect will have its respective page, where people can share their stories, find opportunities to volunteer and sign up for constructive conversations called Discover Dialogues, which brought together 10-12 people of differing political beliefs to talk about what representative should do to improve their lives. Learning about problems within the district and trying to solve them is a major focus for Pai. Although he is no longer in the 2020 race, Pai is planning to run for Congress in a future election cycle.