Building a link between government and media
Goldstein ’06 worked alongside Gov Patrick during the election
Published: Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012 17:12
“One thing I have learned in having these jobs is how much sacrifice it really takes to be a public servant and to be a public official. … It’s a real commitment and you can’t go into it with half of your heart. You have to be all in.”
Since his graduation in 2006, Brandeis alum Alex Goldstein has been proving to the community just how dedicated he is to becoming a force of good in the political sphere.
As the current executive director of Gov. Deval Patrick’s federal political action committee, TogetherPAC and former press secretary for Patrick, Goldstein says he takes pride in his status as a Brandeis alum.
Born and raised in Newton, Mass., Goldstein said he chose Brandeis because he “enjoyed the small student body and the very beautiful campus.”
Although his father also attended Brandeis, Goldstein said he felt no pressure to apply. “He actually went out of his way not to pressure me to go to Brandeis, and I sort of found it on my own,” he said.
After graduating in 2006 with a major in Politics and a minor in Journalism, Goldstein began his career in the political world with Governor Patrick.
Since volunteering for Patrick’s campaign while still in school, Goldstein has held eight different jobs.
“I came on officially as a paid staff the summer after I graduated in 2006,” he explained.
Goldstein started as regional field organizer, a position in which he “had a chunk of territory that [he] organized through the end of the campaign.”
After Patrick won the election, Goldstein came into his office and started work as assistant director of interactive media.
Oriented around new media, Goldstein said that this position was “very much before it’s time.” Lacking the current capacity of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, the position did not turn out as intended.
Despite having never spoken to a reporter in his life, Goldstein then took a job as communications director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, until the end of the 2008 presidential elections when he became press secretary for the Executive Office of Labor and Work Force Development in the Patrick administration.
During this time, his daily routine lasted from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Goldstein spent his time “working through stories, figuring out what the administration’s message was, and what the public statements were on whatever the issue was.”
Goldstein explained that issues could range from an “inmate who escaped from a state prison, to the budget, or green energy, to tax credits. There are so many things that fall under the umbrella of government.”
Goldstein also advised Patrick on how to get his message out, and “worked to get him opportunities to talk with reporters throughout the day.”
Now, Goldstein is the executive director of TogetherPAC, a campaign that focused on “giving [Patrick] a national voice in the 2012 election cycle, getting the president reelected, and working on local races such as Elizabeth Warren’s Senate race,” he said.
Goldstein claimed that his proudest moment was when Patrick won reelection in 2010.
When Goldstein worked with the campaign in December of 2009, Patrick’s ratings were low, and “a lot of people had counted him out politically. ... At that point, we did a gut-check and recognized that we had a real story to tell and that we weren’t doing a good enough job telling it,” he said.
After spending the next year fighting to educate the public on the accomplishments of Patrick, “to get that validation on election night that the voters agreed with us was definitely my proudest moment so far,” he said.
Goldstein’s greatest challenge has been “trying not to take things so personally when you feel that this person that you believe in so deeply, and whose work you believe in so deeply is being attacked ... and trying to stay on an even keel during some of those real emotional moments has always been a challenge,” he said.
When asked about his overall experience as a Brandeis student, Goldstein asserted that he “loved [his] Brandeis experience from start to finish.” His greatest influences came in the form of Prof. Eileen McNamara (JOUR) and Prof. Stephen Whitfield (AMST).
“I think I took every single course I was allowed to take that Eileen had to offer and found them all to be incredibly thought-provoking and stimulating. They made me realize that I was very interested in the media and its interplay with government and advocacy,” he said.
Goldstein’s advice for the up-and-coming professionals of Brandeis is that “the biggest attribute that will aid you in your journey is humility.”
After spending his first six months in politics “stuffing envelopes and spread-sheeting,” Goldstein said he was able to prove that “if you have a real willingness to do what you need to do without complaint ... you will get where you want to go.”
Goldstein also insisted that all Brandeis students must take pride in the University. “The more we take pride in our institution and what it’s given us, the more it will raise up all of us in our stature across the United States and across the world. The value of our degree is only as good as the students who represent it,” Goldstein said.