Roshan Patel is a partner at 50 State, LLC, a strategic corporate and political consulting firm based in Washington, DC. Over the last ten years, Roshan has focused on both state and federal campaign work, most recently serving four years as the National Finance Director at the Democratic Governors Association. During the 2010 election cycle, Roshan was part of a fundraising staff that helped keep Democratic control of the US Senate. He worked on the successful campaigns for US Senators Ben Cardin (MD) and Tom Udall (NM), and also helped lead the fundraising effort for the Presidential campaign of then Governor Bill Richardson. Roshan is from Forest, MS and graduated from Mississippi State University in 2002 with a Bachelor in Business Administration. He spent four years in corporate finance before becoming involved in politics.
Q: Why did you want to work in politics?
A: My interest in politics started at a very young age. My dad would tell stories about my grandfather standing side-by-side with Ghandi during India’s fight for independence. They actually once shared a jail cell after getting detained during a peaceful protest. It was those kind of experiences that piqued my interest in the political process.
Q:How did your experience at MSU help you learn about politics?
A:I was very involved in Student Government at State. Through both winning and losing campaigns, I learned that whether it was a school election or national campaign, the mechanics are the same in order to be successful.
Q:Why do you think having MSU alumni engaged in state politics is important for our University?
A:Being the largest university in Mississippi and having the most alumni in the state, we are a huge voting bloc. We should take advantage of that to make sure elected officials have our best interests in mind. Even more, the way our elected officials legislate or govern has huge implications as to how Mississippi is viewed nationally. We want them to create an environment where Mississippi, and Mississippi State specifically, are able to attract the best and the brightest students, professors and researchers in the country.
Q:Tell us about your political experience so far.
A:I’ve been in Washington, DC for ten years and have been involved in fundraising in each of those years. Being on the fundraising side has allowed me to travel the country, meet with Fortune 500 CEOs and executives, and interact with elected officials all the way up to the President. I’m biased, but a campaign can’t get its message out or hire staff unless you find people that believe in your candidacy enough to financially take a stake in your campaign. It’s been a thrill making that case to donors all across the country.
Q:What advice would you give other students who are interested in following your shoes to Washington or to roles in state government?
A:Just dive in. Don’t wait for the perfect job. If you work hard and prove yourself, you will be able to guide where you want your career to go. And be nice to the interns in your office…you’ll be working for them some day.
Q:Why do you think Bully Bloc is important?
A:Whether it’s city, state or national politics, I think it’s incredibly important to have someone out there promoting and supporting your cause. Bully Bloc serves as that vehicle as it relates to our University, and Mississippi State alumni can trust that elected officials are getting educated on our issues both before and after being elected. Also, Bully Bloc’s involvement in the Stennis-Montgomery Association plays an invaluable role in getting students the exposure they need to get involved in the political process.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A:I love Mississippi State and look forward to getting back to campus at least once a year…wish it was more. Hail State!
Bully Bloc is a non-partisan political action committee not affiliated with Mississippi State University.