The Legacy Of Bijoy Datta
You’ve Got What It Takes,
But It Will Take
All That You’ve Got
Bijoy Datta is a name that is well-known and respected in Broome County and throughout New York State and beyond. You may know him as the former Republican Chair for this County, but do you really know him? I have the privilege of telling his story to you and it begins with a little boy being born at Wilson Hospital in Johnson City.
Bijoy’s parents, Dr. Pranab Kumar Datta and Dr. Shantha Datta, raised him and his older sister Bina in Windsor. It was in this loving Indian-American household that Datta learned that a life well lived is one that is guided by a generous spirit and an unwavering integrity in all you do. And he was fortunate to learn these principles through example as his family gave all they could to the people of this area through so many avenues including his father’s oncology career where he helped thousands of patients and
their families through the most difficult times of their lives and through his father’s role in organizing India Day and helping to establish the India Cultural Center in Vestal to promote cultural, social, and traditional values of India among community members. Bijoy says the money was never the motivating force for action in his family. Rather they were guided by a higher principle. One of believing that each one of us has what it takes to do good in the world but that it will take all that you got to do it.
And so, Bijoy embarked on the world to make his own mark, a mark that would be distinctly his while staying true to the noble values he had learned at home. At BU he majored in and graduated with a double major in Philosophy and Philosophy, Politics & Law (Pre-Law).
“To be honest, I wasn’t particularly interested in politics or government growing up or even in college. As I was finishing up my second year of college, I still hadn’t decided on a major and knew that I wanted to get a summer job that wasn’t in fast food (which is where I’d been working for the past several years). I put in my resume to most local politicians, law offices, and other professional offices. I got an interview for an internship at Senator Libous’ office in Binghamton.” And so, the journey began an unexpected journey that has left a positive footprint on this area.
Bijoy took over the Chairmanship from outgoing Chair Dave Hamlin in 2013. My “goal when I took over was to create an independent operation that did its own fundraising, managed local campaigns, and made an impact in regional and statewide races. During my tenure, we raised nearly $600,000 and invested it right back into electing Republicans year-in-and-year-out. Our Lincoln Dinner and Clambake have become “must attend” events for statewide candidates and major political figures.” Besides excelling at fundraising and bringing effective candidates forward, Bijoy has been a visionary in the need for technology to get the message out. “I’ve always believed that close campaigns are won and lost over data. A successful campaign uses and collects data, interprets it effectively and translates that into a message delivered to voters in a resonant way. The tools have advanced in significant ways over the last 20 years, but the concept remains the same.” Throughout his tenure as Chair, Bijoy has amassed a number of achievements unparalleled by most. “I’m incredibly proud of the success that the Broome Republicans have enjoyed during the last decade that I’ve been at the helm. This has been an era of tremendous change as we transitioned to a new generation of locally elected Republican leaders, including Fred Akshar, Dan Reynolds, Jared Kraham, Rich David, and Joe Angelino, as well as just recently helping to deliver a win for Congressman-Elect Marc Molinaro. Even though there are thousands more registered Democrats than registered Republicans in Broome County, we’ve consistently won most major offices and the vast majority of smaller local offices. In fact, right now Republicans hold 183 out of 217 elective offices in Broome County.”
All of his accomplishments have been possible because he had what it takes and he gave his all, Yet, all good stories have many chapters that take the reader on the hero’s journey and Bijoy’s story is not a stranger to this format. “I’ve been thinking about stepping back from this position for quite some time. But we knew for awhile that 2022 was going to be a huge year for us – with a high-profile Congressional race, State Senate and State Assembly, Sheriff, County Legislature and nearly 100 town/village races on the ballot. It didn’t make sense to step down in the midst of these priorities, and I’m proud that we ultimately outperformed almost every other part of the state and country with our success rate last in 2022. But with the recent election now behind us, it’s a strategically smart time for a transition – before petition prep and other campaign actions start in early 2023. The Party’s finances are also in a strong position, with enough funds in the bank to cover at least two years of the “housekeeping” expenses at HQ. In addition to the political timing, my father and father-in-law both passed away recently. Their deaths, along with my mother’s ongoing circumstances suffering from severe Alzheimer’s Disease, have changed my perspective on many things in life. It hasn’t been an easy time for our family, but I sincerely appreciate the countless well wishes we’ve received. My day job for the last nine years as a political consultant will continue. I run local and regional races for candidates around Upstate and have elected dozens of Judges, District Attorneys, Sheriffs, County Executives, County Clerks, Mayors and other officials across a range of counties. Outside of work, I’ve always been a huge music lover. I continue to play locally and, since the pandemic, have done a lot with putting music (both covers and originals) out on YouTube and other social media outlets.”
And so now he will take a step back from public life with his loving family, wife Valerie and children Ajay and Nikhil by his side. The changing of the guard, Benji Federman, has now stepped up to the plate. Benji has “done stellar work over the past seven years on Fred Akshar’s State Senate staff, as our County Party Secretary, and in his volunteer work on countless local Republican campaigns. I like to joke that Benji reminds me a lot of me 15 years ago – except taller, smarter and more mature than I was at his age. I look forward to watching and helping him grow into the position and chart his own course. I plan to help him in any way that he needs.”
Bijoy leaves the Chairmanship in capable hands as 28 year old Benji Federman is a man who has been a positive force in the Republican Party. “I’ve served on the legislative staff of Senator Fred Akshar (now Sheriff Akshar) for the last seven years in various leadership roles. Throughout my time in his office, we spent an enormous amount of time speaking directly to constituents and voters which has given me a great sense of the needs of the community; like improving public safety, affordability, and opportunity. In my volunteer time, I’ve had the opportunity to work on several local, county, and state level political campaigns. It’s allowed me to create a network of relationships as well as ground-level political experience that’s needed to take on a job like this. Since 2018, I’ve led the Broome County Young Republicans and was recognized as a Rising Star in the Republican Party in 2019 for revitalizing the club and bringing statewide grassroots efforts to the Southern Tier. In a way, I see this new role as a natural step in my ability to continue helping our Republican candidates. The Broome Republicans have done a tremendous job at winning despite a voter enrollment disadvantage in the thousands. Bijoy Datta had a successful tenure as Chairman and we’re going to build on that legacy, but also bring a new energy and vision for the Party. We’re going to double down on what works – registering new Republican voters, enhance our absentee ballot and early voting programs and improve our fundraising and messaging capacity. I hope to inspire a new generation of Republicans to join the fight to make our community a better place.
And so here you have it. The torch is being past from one to another based on the same principles that Bijoy himself was brought up on – generous spirit, unwavering integrity to do good for the people around you by giving it your all.
Thank you Bijoy for your years of service to our community and keeping in the forefront that government is about the people and for the people.