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Monday, April 20, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Raj Bhakta, Entrepreneur and Founder of Go America, GO!

At 33, Raj Peter Bhakta has gained experience as a historian, businessman, TV personality, and politician. His upbringing, as a first generation American in an entrepreneurial Indian-Irish family, engendered a great love of country and interest in business, while his schooling cultivated a commitment to the study and application of the lessons of history.

Consistent with his historical interests, Raj wrote a 150 page thesis on the Austro-Hungarian Empire during WWI. Raj concluded that the headstrong and naive policies of President Wilson helped destroy an ancient regime much preferable to its successor states.

Armed with a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in History from Boston College, Raj gained exposure to Wall Street by working for the boutique M&A firm, Violy & Co.

At the age of 24, Raj founded, which provided online technology solutions for the wholesale automobile industry. In conjunction with a Princeton University professor and JD Power and Associates, Automovia successfully developed technological solutions which were sold to Daimler Chrysler.

Thereafter, Raj turned his energies to real estate, purchasing and redeveloping a hotel, retail and condominium complex in Vail, Colorado in 2003, increasing the property’s value from $5.3 to $25 million in four years.

In 2005, Raj appeared on the “The Apprentice.” Thereafter, he launched the Coalition for the Advancement of the Republic (CAR), an organization devoted to involving young people in the political process. As CAR’s founder and spokesperson, Raj appeared frequently on major cable news networks to discuss current events.

As a result of his accomplishments, GOP leaders recruited Raj as a dynamic young candidate for United States Congress in a traditionally swing district. Raj ran a highly unconventional, innovative campaign, directing pointed criticism at the Republican establishment for having lost-touch with their core values of a small, clean government and a prudent foreign policy. Campaigning against a well-financed incumbent, Raj was successful in gaining the media attention his incumbent opponent could afford to purchase.

Frustrated by the porous US-Mexico border, for example, Raj highlighted the haplessness of current policy by processing along the Rio Grande atop an elephant heralded by a six-piece Mariachi band, unmolested by US Border Security. This dramatic demonstration captured international attention and is shown in the above photo.

Raj raised more money independently than any GOP candidate in the nation, and led the Republican ticket in his district. Though unable to unseat his well-financed incumbent opponent in an anti-GOP cycle, he still received over 74,000 votes of 180,000 cast.

Since the 2006 election, Raj traveled widely in Asia. Consistent with his environmentalist leanings, he has been working on his organically certified farm in Vermont and he also resides in Manhattan.

Raj’s variety of experience has cemented his determination to his express his deep concern for the state of affairs in America. Partially as a consequence of his recent travels in Asia, Raj feels that the United States is losing its preeminence more quickly than most realize, requiring urgent economic and diplomatic reforms.

To that end, he is launching the GoAmericaGo! Corporation. GoAmericaGo! will pursue a highly innovative strategy dedicated to raising public awareness of the serious challenges facing the country. Uniquely, the company’s profits, derived from the beverage industry and merchandising, will be dedicated to taking direct action to strengthen America’s future. Whom You Know fully supports Raj in his efforts with Go America, GO! and strongly endorses the organization, and encourages you to get involved and support the reinvigoration of America's competitive spirit. Check out:

When envisioning the concept of Whom You Know, Peachy Deegan thought about who she knew and she certainly knows Raj Bhakta well and can personally attest to his embodiment of being a true Mover and Shaker! Peachy Deegan interviewed Raj Bhakta for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What future political ambitions do you have?
Raj Bhakta: I am politically dormant for the moment and will be for the next several years, however I am remaining abreast of development and opportunities. In any event, I expect the say to come when I will run again.

What do you think of the Obama bailout plan?
Well, this is a really tough one. Notwithstanding, economic woes created by too much borrowing and spending will not be solved, for long at least, by more borrowing and spending. The piper will need to be paid: the later we pay for leaving beyond our means as a nation, the higher the price. That’s about as simple I can make this very complex issue.

How did you get the idea for Go America, GO! and how do you envision it unfolding?
In essence, it struck me that America has been making serious economic and foreign policy errors for some time. I started the organization before the present economic crises partly as a consequence of foreseeing the mess we’re in at the moment. More globally, Go America,Go! is very much about our name. We need to get America rolling again by unleashing the capacity of American people – that’s how we’ve always done it. Our view is do this through the empowering individual economic and political freedom and that this cannot simultaneous take place with the growing power of government.

How were you able to raise more money independently than any GOP candidate in the nation in 2006?
That’s simple - spend six hours a day on the phone asking for money. It is the least pleasant and most troubling, because of its implication on the integrity of our politicians, part of politics.

Where did you get the idea to ride the elephant across the Mexican border?
Well, if millions can cross every year undetected – I figured a elephant could do it, with me on top, with a mariachi bank heralding me in. It was still shocking nevertheless.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
The great field in Central Park.

What is your favorite drink?
Lagavulin scotch.

What is your favorite restaurant?
The original PJ Clark’s.

What is your favorite NYC book?
The Island at the Center of the World. It’s the story of Manhattan’s early Dutch beginnings and how that effected the trajectory of the island and its culture.

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
No one does brunch like in NY.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
The most unrated/underrated is the burger at Molly’s Irish pub. (3rd ave between 22nd and 23rd) and judging by the number of people who go there, Times Square must be overrated.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Sure I'd like to hear from them, look me up on the ubiquitous Facebook phenomenon.

Whom You Know's Original Coverage of Go America, GO!

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