Last month, rising U.S. Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy spoke to AAHOA Board Chairman Bharat Patel about key industry issues during the first AAHOA 2024 Presidential Candidate Forum. The exclusive interview was a first-ever opportunity for AAHOA to speak on behalf of the industry with a leading Presidential candidate.
Like many of AAHOA’s Members, Ramaswamy is a first-generation American who understands the complexities of the American Dream.
Ramaswamy discussed how his parents, who emigrated from India, had made sacrifices and worked hard to fulfill the full American dream, similar to what AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel and so many AAHOA Members have done over the years. Ramaswamy talked personally about raising his sons in Ohio and his hope to provide for them the same way his parents provided for him. But he expressed concerns:
“We’re taught, as the kids of immigrants… to put your head down and do your part,” Ramaswamy said. “Politics is dirty business; that’s for somebody else, but you work hard and do your part. Now, fast forward 40 years after [my parents]came [to America], I’ve gone on to live the full American Dream. But I am worried that that American Dream, the idea that you get ahead through your own hard work, commitment, dedication, and meritocracy — that you get ahead not on the color of your skin but on the content of your character and your contributions — isn’t going to exist for our kids unless we all do something about it. We might think that politics and government, that’s somebody else’s problem. Well, you might not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.”
On behalf of AAHOA’s 20,000 members and the industry at large, AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel asked focused questions about the current pressing challenges faced by small business and hotel owners, including inflation, labor, and supply chain issues. When asked about his priorities in the hospitality and tourism sector if elected, Ramaswamy replied, “restore the rule of law in this country that makes tourism more attractive, even in cities across this country. Fight inflation and grow the economy so people have more money to spend on traveling, and on being able to enjoy the vacation time to travel. That helps Americans, and that helps hotel owners across this country with something we’ve been lacking for a long time.”
The virtual forum gave AAHOA Members and other viewers an opportunity to hear directly from Ramaswamy regarding his policy priorities, his vision for the future of America, and the impact of Asian Americans in the hospitality industry.
“It was an honor to be able to sit down with Ramaswamy to represent AAHOA Members, who contribute 1.7% to the U.S. GDP, provide more than 1 million jobs, and serve as an engine for economic growth in communities across the U.S.,” said AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel. “It’s exciting to see a presidential candidate recognize the immense impact AAHOA Members have as everyday constituents, but also as enterprising entrepreneurs and small business owners who power this great country’s hospitality industry.”
“I am delighted we had the opportunity to sit down with Ramaswamy and hear his vision for the future,” said AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake. “As the youngest candidate, and a rising contender in the U.S. Presidential race, his commitment to our industry and presence at the AAHOA Forum is truly commendable and signifies a genuine interest in building strong relations with our members over the long term.”