Electrical engineer Seth Braun didn’t end up becoming a genetic scientist like his 8 year-old, Pokémon loving self thought he would. Even breaking into the field wasn’t quite what he expected, as the start-up company he worked for had him fulfilling several different tasks and his role has only become more specialized after recently taking a new job at a larger company-Analog Devices. Outside of work, he discovered another interest just as compelling: local politics.
Inspired by Bernie Sanders as a college student at Georgia Tech, Seth took a true interest in the political process for the first time. Shortly after relocating to Massachusetts from Maine — where he’d unsuccessfully run for city council, Seth stepped up to fill a seat on his local housing board because no one was running for the position. He ended up getting over a hundred write-in votes, even though the election was only a few days away.
As he explained on the show, local politics can make a true difference in people’s lives. Now, part of Seth’s official responsibilities involves helping to provide affordable housing. Still not convinced that running for office matters? You don’t even have to take Seth’s word for it. Click here to read about bears overrunning a New Hampshire town due to local policies. It might inspire you to step up to run for an office in your own community one day — unless you really like bears, that is.
Seth Braun’s Background
When Seth was a student at Georgia Tech, he found himself studying signal processing and hosting a science fiction radio show. Since he was a kid, he’s always been curious about how the world works.
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Early on, Seth dreamed of becoming a genetic scientist – Any why not? He excelled at math, has the mind of an engineer, and always enjoyed tinkering with electronics (and playing video games).
His first job offer led him to work in the RF (Radio Frequency) field at a Maine-based startup. Seth worked on building and testing cutting-edge 5G projects involving switches, circuits, and transmitters. However, the size and trajectory of the company made him realize it was wise to pursue other opportunities in order to accelerate his career.
Nowadays, Seth works as an engineer at Analog Devices.
While Seth may have the technical aptitude and mindset of an engineer, he’s a true community advocate at heart.
His interest in politics was ignited when Bernie Sanders entered the scene – Finally, there was a political candidate shining light on issues like the amount of student debt in our country among other things. Seth volunteered for Bernie’s campaign and liked politics so much, he ran for a city council position, though his bid was unsuccessful.
Not one to be discouraged, Seth continued his political volunteer work. He joined the Food & Medicine group, where he contributed alongside others in building community gardens and lobbying politicians for positive change. Seth even served as a delegate for Bernie at the state level and later campaigned for a housing board seat, with a special focus on affordable housing.
Seth’s experiences in politics were not without their share of eye-opening revelations. For example, he shared the anecdote of a town in New Hampshire that saw a Tea Party of Libertarians take over, resulting in the defunding of essential services like animal control and waste management – eventually resulting in wild encounters with actual bears on the streets.
Live free or die, right?
Should you get involved in your local political scene?
What’s going on in your home community and local politics might not make headlines on the national stage, but it’s where the real action and change takes place. From school board decisions to zoning regulations, a community’s politics is what shapes its members’ daily lives.
Have you ever considered getting involved? And should you get involved in your local political scene? We’ll discuss some benefits and potential drawbacks below.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov
Benefits of getting involved in local politics
There are real benefits to taking action in your local community – As the old saying goes, “If nothing ever changes, then nothing ever changes.” Let’s discuss some tangible impacts below.
One of the most compelling reasons to get involved in your community is the ability to make a direct impact on the lives of others. Your voice and efforts can influence decisions that affect your neighborhood, schools, and local services. Whether you’re advocating for better public transportation or supporting environmental initiatives, your contributions can lead to tangible change.
Local politics provide an opportunity to connect with people in your community who share your concerns and passions. You can build lasting relationships with neighbors and create a stronger, more connected community in the process.
Involvement in local politics offers a hands-on education in how government functions. You’ll gain insights into the complexities of local governance, from budgeting and policy-making. This knowledge can be empowering and eye-opening.
Advocacy work can boost your personal growth and development. It hones your communication and leadership skills, enhances your understanding of complex issues, and teaches you how to navigate political processes. These skills are not only valuable in the political arena but also in various aspects of your life.
Sense of Purpose
Contributing to your community promotes a profound sense of purpose and acknowledgement that you play a part in the success of a bigger ecosystem. Knowing that you are working toward positive change not only for yourself, but others, can lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in life.
Potential drawbacks of getting involved in local politics
With anything, there are some aspects considered by some to be drawbacks when it comes to getting involved in politics. Let’s look at some reasons why getting involved may not be the right course for you.
Active involvement in local politics can be time-consuming. Meetings and research may eat into your personal time and work-life balance. It’s essential to assess whether you have the capacity to commit before diving in.
Conflict and Controversy
Local politics can get contentious at times, and you may find yourself embroiled in heated debates or facing opposition from those with differing views. This can be emotionally taxing and requires resilience.
Local politics often operate with limited resources, which can limit your ability to bring about change. Funding constraints and bureaucratic hurdles can slow down progress and be frustrating at times.
Lack of Recognition
Unlike national or state-level politicians, local activists and officials often receive less recognition for their efforts. If you seek public recognition or a prominent platform, local politics may not be your end-goal – but it’s a start.
So you’ve decided getting involved is right for you. Let’s discuss what that might look like.
Attend Local Meetings
Start by attending town hall meetings, school board sessions, or neighborhood association gatherings. This is a great way to get a feel for the issues being discussed and the current state of affairs in your community.
Join Local Organizations
Many communities have advocacy groups or civic organizations dedicated to specific causes. Joining one can provide structure and support for your efforts.
Run for Office
If you’re passionate about your cause and dedicated, consider running for local office. Whether it’s a city council seat or a position on the school board, elected officials can have a significant impact on their communities. Seth noted that when he ran for local office, having name recognition would have helped him in the polls. The power of people knowing who you are goes a long way.
If running for office isn’t in the cards, you can still support candidates who align with your values. Campaign volunteering and fundraising are all ways to contribute.
Getting involved in local politics is a decision that should be made after careful consideration of the potential benefits and drawbacks. While it can be demanding of your time, it offers a unique opportunity to shape the place you call home, connect with your neighbors, and learn valuable skills along the way.
Ultimately, your political involvement can play a pivotal role in creating a better community for all who live in it.
A day in the life of a community advocate
Seth Braun is a man of many talents and interests. You might find him spending hours learning Japanese or brushing up on his French. He uses Duolingo, podcasts, and foreign films to hone in his multi-language vernacular.
As an electrical engineer at Analog Devices in the greater Boston area, Seth’s work sits at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and innovation. He might be collaborating with colleagues on RF product designs, fine-tuning transmitters, or troubleshooting complex technical challenges.
Outside of work, you can find Seth attending local meetings and engaging in discussions with community members. Seth wholeheartedly believes in the pursuit and power of making a difference in his local community.
Seth enjoys reading and spending quality time with loved ones on 2 wheels. Seth and his wife like getting out and about on their bikes. The duo met on Tinder in Bangor, Maine and have been married for some years now.
Photo by Solare Flares
From childhood dreams of becoming a genetic scientist to becoming an electrical engineer and community advocate, Seth’s work continuously makes a real impact on his life and surrounding community.
At his 9-5, Seth navigates the complex world of 5G technology and does his part in driving our interconnected world forward. When he’s not working, you may find him at a local town hall meeting or learning a different language.
Seth’s political experience suggests that getting involved in your local politics can be rewarding – but it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a venture that takes thought, time and dedication.
By engaging with your local community, you can become a catalyst for change and build lasting connections that reverberate through generations.
Remember, you can make an impact.