Thank You, Mr. Governor

BY NICK BUTTS // SEPT. 27, 2013 //

For the better part of my life, I have been obsessed with politics and the procedures of government. I can remember following the 2004 presidential election as a 13-year-old, not completely understanding the issues but enthralled by the processes.

The author with former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. // Courtesy Photo

The author with former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. // Courtesy Photo

When I enrolled at Curry College and decided to be a politics and history major, I thought I was on my way to becoming the next president of the United States. The naïve aspirations of an 18-year-old have quickly caught up to me, but the dream of doing my part in the name of public good has sustained.

You can therefore imagine my euphoria when former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis came to speak to my “State and Local Politics” class on Thursday, Sept. 26. The governor’s talk covered his rise in politics, all the way to winning the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 1988 presidential election.

Although public service is important to me, I have doubted my ability to achieve my dreams. I never had the confidence that someone like me, a non-Ivy League student, could join the ranks of those who work in the Massachusetts State House or on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

But to experience Gov. Dukakis’ caring demeanor, combined with his knowledge of politics and policy, was an unbelievable experience that helped make me believe again. One piece of advice he gave to our group concerned the benefits of grassroots organization in political campaigns. The former governor advocated for us to remain involved in the political process so we could lead our generation into the future.

His talk truly gave fuel to my long-held desires to work in politics. From discussing his humble upbringings in Brookline, Mass., to reflecting on his heated presidential campaign against then Vice President George H.W. Bush, Gov. Dukakis always made a point to connect with his audience.

So much of politics is about connecting with others. The same can be said about life in general.

I no longer hope to become the president of the United States. But thanks to the former governor, as well as the support of several Curry professors, I am more excited than ever to realize my dreams of serving the public good.

Nick Butts is a senior politics and history major from Hull, Mass.

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