With the ink on his UK citizenship barely dry passionate new Scot Dan Peña, the self-proclaimed ‘Trillion Dollar Man’, is considering running for parliament in the UK.
He’s lived in Scotland for nearly 40 years and grown his family and his fortune here; now he wants to go one better.
“I want to Make Angus Great Again,” says the ebullient former American oil and gas man, who grew his business from an $820 start-up to $450 million powerhouse in less than a decade.
Ahead of a formal run for a political post in 2024, Peña is hosting a village hall meeting in his home village of Guthrie, chaired by local Church of Scotland minister Brian Ramsay, to gauge the mood of the region and find out if his candidacy resonates .
If so, this dual citizen of America and the UK will run as an independent, saying he will ‘eat other candidates alive’ at both the hustings and the election itself.
At 76-years-old, many would be content winding down at home in Guthrie Castle, playing a few rounds of golf a week on the nine-hole course they built on their own land and contemplating a quiet retirement. Not Pena.
“I’ve lived in Scotland for 37 years and made it my home. It’s been very good to me, but I feel successive governments have done nothing for the Angus area.
“I have been successful, incredibly successful, in business, in creating jobs and creating money all around the world including in the UK, and I am at the top of my game, creating a trillion dollars in equity and making over a million millionaires. I’m at the top of my game, as a businessman and mentor, but I now want to do something different.”
His dreams have changed over the years; in his youth he wanted to own a large estate, to live near Carnoustie and St Andrews and to build his own golf course, all of which he has achieved in Guthrie Castle since he bought it in 1984. Now his ambitions lie in creating something bigger for the region.
“I thought I was never going to get my UK passport”, he says, “but it arrived on October 12, with a citizenship ceremony in Forfar sealing the deal.”
Next up came the creation of a focus group to consider his intentions to run for parliament, followed by his planned village hall meeting at 7pm on April 21 in Guthrie Hall.
While entrepreneur Peña has spent his career making bold decisions and even bigger statements, sometimes it is life’s small events which crystallize plans. Marching in the 2021 Remembrance Day Parade in the Angus village he calls home – as an ex-infantry, military police and NATO officer, he was only US vet in the ceremony – he fell into a massive pothole, only saved from serious injury by a 90-year-old Scot who caught him as he tripped.
Reviewing the state of the road – “that pot hole has been there so long it has its own name!” – And the decline of the High Street in general confirmed his intent.
“I feel politicians have done nothing for the region for 37 years, so I will focus on many areas,” he said.
Bringing investment to Angus
Bringing the High Street back to its former glory
Encouraging better care for veterans and seniors
Creating an immigration program that works for both sides
Alleviating the drug problem in Scotland, including Dundee and Angus.
Promote renewables but support the oil and gas industry through transition and protect current jobs.
He added: “My exploratory committee and the village hall meeting will help me make a decision in the coming months if I will be entering the political arena here in the UK.
Addressing the people of Angus, he said: “As Walt Disney said – when values are clear, decisions are easy. Either you want to get on the bus of change – or you don’t. The message to me is very clear – change! All I ask: listen to the message and don’t shoot the messenger.
“I make this my promise to you, with your support, I will make Angus great again.”
Full details of his plans for UK politics are on his website and all are welcome to join him at the Guthrie Village Hall meeting on April 21.
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