~ Submitted by Anisha Aggarwal
My name is Anisha and I’m writing this in support of Shawn Hanegan and his candidacy for Select Board. I’m a freshman at Boston University studying Political Science and in the beginning of 2022, I was looking for a way to explore this field outside of a classroom. When one of my mentors in Bedford reached out and told me that Shawn needed a campaign manager, it sounded like an exciting opportunity but I didn’t know who Shawn was. I decided to work with Shawn for a trial week in order to learn more about his values and policies.
As an Indian, I came into this position knowing I was very passionate about including the voices of different racial and ethnic groups in Bedford’s government, a system traditionally controlled by and catered towards white men. In that first week, Shawn surprised me when he openly shared that he wanted to work to achieve this goal with me. He understands that there are different communities in town and that are joined by a shared religion, race, ethnicity,
socio-economic status, etc. He also understands that these communities can not be treated as one monolithic voice, a common misconception people have: “If you’ve met one Indian, you’ve met them all”. There are many different opinions, values, and perspectives within each community. Through his willingness to cold call members of different communities to hear their thoughts, and his dedication to coming up with more effective methods of communication with more residents (surveys, public forums, new advertising platforms), Shawn showed me that he genuinely wants to learn how he can give power to unheard and unrepresented voices.
After that first week, Shawn’s ability to receive and learn from feedback made my job much easier. I can be blunt when it comes to the ideas and opinions I have. After two public forums, I wrote Shawn two page-long essays explaining why I hated a phrase he used or the wording he chose in order to explain one of his policies. Instead of getting upset, he would respectfully respond to my essays and I never heard him use that phrase or wording again. Shawn’s humble nature allows him to take harsh criticism from a college freshman and after two months as his campaign manager, I have seen that his ability to grow is neverending.