NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

The Art of Winning Elections

Global studies professor Richard Padova watches as political analysts David Forsberg (left) and Charles Baker III (right) discuss their experiences.

Politics is power, and learning how to win elections is key to survival and success in the world of U.S. politics.

The NECC Speaker’s Series continued on Wednesday, Feb. 25 when global studies professor Richard Padova introduced political analysts Charles Baker III and David Forsberg to speak on “The Art of Winning Elections.” The series began last fall when former presidential candidate Howard Dean came to speak on his political experiences on Sept. 24.

The speakers were invited to talk about their experiences on the campaign trail.

Baker is an advisor for DLA Piper, a business law firm, and a founding partner in the Dewey Square Group, a public affairs consulting group. Baker has past political experience as deputy chief secretary to former Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis, as well as being a senior advisor on national field strategy to the Gore/Lieberman campaign and the Democratic National Committee and a senior advisor on national field strategy to Kerry/Edwards campaign in 2004.

“I just kept at [politics],” said Baker. “Politics has changed a ton. We talk about this today in terms of the use of technology … back then, we still copied things on mimeograph paper. If you’d need to get a copy of a voter list you’d have to go to town hall and write it down. They wouldn’t necessarily have even the extra copies to print. It was just a very very different time.”

Forsberg is the Dean of the School of Business at Anna Maria College. He chaired Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s campaign and is the former Health and Human Services Secretary for Mass. He started in Worcester as a councilor and later went on to serve as the New England Regional Administrator-Regional Housing Commissioner for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also served as the Chief Development Officer for Worcester.

“I ran [for city council] in 1973 and lost … and I got up the next morning and went down to city hall plaza and started campaigning for the next election, which I won,” said Forsberg about his start in politics.

“I kind of have a general rule about politics and it’s probably why I’ve kept doing it my whole life, which is, campaigns actually have to be about fun. If there isn’t joy in a campaign every day, then like you should do something else,” said Baker. “Even in the most adverse situations, I’ve always had fun in campaigns.”

“My biggest thrill was the first election that I won, to personalize it,” said Forsberg.

After Baker and Forsberg spoke about their beginnings in politics and some of their experiences, Padova opened up the floor for questions from the audience. Baker and Forsberg spoke on topics such as whether the Democrats could have done anything to win the infamously disputed Bush-Gore election of 2000, ways the state of Massachusetts education and mental health care could be improved, and each spoke about how money in politics was effecting campaigns, especially for candidates who are less wealthy and well-known.

The NECC “Movers, Shakers and Opinion Makers” Speakers Series will have its final installment on April 14 for the 150th anniversary commemoration of Lincoln’s assassination. More information will be available soon.

Contact Richard Padova at rpadova@necc.mass.edu with further questions.

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