Before I got into politics, when I flipped through channels on any given day, I occasionally would come across the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN). This would lead to, as with most others my age, an eye roll and a passing thought about how this was even a channel because there was no way anyone could possibly bring themselves to watch this programming. Who could find a bunch of adults rambling on about confusing topics and subjects that most of the country did not know about interesting?
So it went on this way for many years, I lived my life not really knowing what was going on with our political landscape locally or nationally, let alone internationally. That was until the 2012 election cycle began. I had woken up a little bit with the election of Barack Obama in 2008 ,because of the excitement surrounding his inauguration. That being said, as with any kid who merely reflects the political viewpoints of those they associate with, I lost interest because apparently President Obama was not of my party. This lack of knowledge all started to change with the 2012 election cycle because I began to ask questions. Why was Mitt Romney so exciting? Why is everyone so afraid of the Russians? Why are tax cuts a good thing? It only took a few questions, and many memorable nights sitting with my dad watching debates, and I was instantly hooked. I followed the race with gusto, even attending a rally for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in New Hampshire. I began to understand the issues beyond just lip service from CNN, Fox News or the bevy of other resources available throughout that race. I examined various conservative positions from why a stronger national defense was necessary to why businesses should not have large shares of their money taken in taxes. This interest and passion only grew as the years wore on when I took AP Government courses and even founded a chapter of the Massachusetts College Republicans during my time at Gordon College.
Fast forward to today and I find myself gaining a whole new appreciation for the adults going on and on about things that most people do not know much about. That is because, recently, I was lucky enough to get a job working as the Communications Director for one of the most exciting up and coming Republicans in our Commonwealth. State Senator Dean Tran is a first generation American whose family came to the United States, from Vietnam, after the end of the war. They came because Senator Tran’s father, after fighting alongside American forces, was under threat of death from the newly unified communist government. After spending time in a refugee camp awaiting their green cards, they were taken in by a Catholic priest in Clinton, Massachusetts which became their first home in the United States. After moving to Fitchburg in 1986, the Tran family became the quintessential example of an American success story. Despite moving from Vietnam with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they were able to set up a life for themselves here. This is with Senator Tran going onto graduate from Fitchburg High School and subsequently Brandeis University in 1997 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and American Studies. After graduating from Brandeis, Senator Tran would go onto serve his community in a wide variety of ways. This includes being on the Executive Board for the Boy Scouts of America and, from 2005-2017, serving as a City Councilor At-Large for Fitchburg. This was until he was sworn in as the first Vietnamese-American elected to the Massachusetts Legislature and first person of color to serve in the State Senate from his district.
With my one month anniversary of being in this role coming up, I have been doing a lot of reflecting about what government is and what kind of role I, and my fellow staff members, play on a day to day basis working for Senator Tran. My first month has been filled with many challenges, all of which I have welcomed with open arms. It is not easy working for the government, at least my part of the government. However, there is something special about going into the community on the weekends to volunteer on his reelection campaign. Meeting voters and hearing first hand their reaction to all of the fantastic work Senator Tran has been able to do, in less than half of a term, truly gives a sense of perspective to what it is we do on Beacon Hill. Through his first eight months in office, Senator Tran has been able to secure $29,600,000 for 11 communities in the Worcester and Middlesex District. This is for projects ranging from park renovations to a new Utility Terrain Vehicle for the Berlin Fire Department. This is not even counting the bills he voted on with subjects ranging from education to the opioid crisis.
It is an honor working for such a principled conservative in the Massachusetts Legislature and getting to assist in giving voice to the people of his district. The thing about those adults on CSPAN that very few realize is that they are laying the groundwork, Republican or Democrat, for the future of our Republic. They are debating and passing bills that could have long term, society altering, implications for our way of life. The United States of America is far and away the greatest experiment ever devised by man. Our government may have echoes of empires long gone like Rome and Greece but none have come close to what our founders devised 231 years ago in 1787 when they created our Constitution. Next time you are flipping through channels and come across C-SPAN I encourage you to pause for a second. Those men and women are passing legislation and doing work that will possibly affect you, your future children and your children’s children. Even though our political landscape has been tumultuous lately, our Constitution and way of life will endure into the future and I am so proud to play a role in shaping that future.
John Nadeau is the Communications Director for Massachusetts State Senator Dean Tran. He currently lives in Hopkinton and is a recent graduate of Gordon College. You can find John on Twitter here: @johnnadeau2018
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