Dr. Natwar Gandhi believes that Virginians both hurt and helped the effort to bring baseball to Washington, D.C. They hurt it because of their efforts to fund their own stadium in Virginia. However, the city had one strong Virginian on their side — U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th).
Davis’ efforts to save the city came about long before the rebirth of baseball in the city. Gandhi said, “Tom Davis was responsible for establishing the board and CFO [chief financial officer] position.”
This was in the early 1990s when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy and had a huge deficit. Gandhi believes that the newly founded board and CFO position enabled the city to recover from their financial straights.
Gandhi spoke at the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce luncheon that was held at Mount Vernon Country Club. He was introduced by Kahan Singh Dhillon Jr., who was sporting a National’s T-shirt. Dhillon spoke about the impact that Gandhi has made on the city, and how he is one of the highest ranking South Asians in this country. The two men met during the Annual USINPAC Delegation to India; Dhillon was impressed with Gandhi’s achievements and invited him to speak at this month’s luncheon.
While Gandhi is credited for much of the turnaround that has occurred in the city, he in turn credits D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams.
“The turnaround is rather unique — no other city has been able to come back. We are very proud of our record, and give credit to Anthony Williams who was CFO then,” Gandhi said.
He spoke about the new convention center, medical hospital, mental health hospital and hotel headquarters. And he spoke about baseball.
“It will have economic benefits and will provide opportunities for area businesses.”
He spoke about how the area around the convention center is “a very vibrant, economically resilient, hip place where people want to be” and expects the same from the new stadium.
“My hope is that [the stadium] will be the catalyst to provide economic development in Washington, D.C,” Gandhi said.
Chamber members appreciated Dr. Gandhi's visit, Dhillon said, "I had a considerable number of attendees to the event come express their gratitude and appreciation for Dr. Gandhi being able to make it and present the revitalization taking effect in our Nation's Capital to our Chamber. Dr. Gandhi's visit to one of the largest chambers in the county exemplifies both the District of Columbia's and his commitment to reaching and building new alliances and partnerships with fellow citizens and businesses in the region. Dr. Gandhi has always been a man of considerable character and composition and has risen to become one of the most pivotal keys to the revitalization of D.C. through his actions and not just his words. For the chamber to reach out to leaders such as Dr. Gandhi, the CFO of the Nation's Capital, and for them to reciprocate is an imperative and monumental step forward in our overall progression and expansion as a chamber."