It recently came to this blog’s attention that Brodie Deshaies ’21, a History-English double-major (and Philosophy minor), is running for the New Hampshire House of Representatives in District 6 of Carroll County. One Thing after Another could not resist asking Brodie some questions about his experiences.
Q: Why did you choose to attend Saint Anselm College?
A: I chose Saint Anselm College for two very practical, but also important, reasons: the campus looked aesthetically nice and the food was excellent. These were my top concerns when touring colleges around New England. Other things that really solidified my decision to go here were the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and the school’s RCIA program. I was actually already going through a process of conversion prior to my freshman year; attending Saint Anselm College allowed me to complete this process by becoming baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. I was previously agnostic.
Q: Originally, you were a Politics major. Now you’re a History and English double-major with a Philosophy minor. Why the change? What brought you to History and English?
A: I decided to drop the Politics major after my freshman year because the classes did not interest me. Nothing against the professors or anything, but I was not passionate about the subject matter. It would have been a terrible four years of college if I did not like what I was studying. I decided to become a History major because I was good at history courses in high school, and I had two AP credits that counted towards the major. I have always really enjoyed history, too, so it was a fitting change. I added an English major because of my EN105 professor freshman year, Kristin O’Brien, and my EN106 professor sophomore year, Ann Holbrook. Both of these professors made me passionate about writing. I enjoy literature, but I have always favored writing and communication. They feel like lost arts. The Philosophy minor was a spur of the moment thing. Second semester junior year, I realized I could fit two more philosophy courses into my schedule for senior year. I have really enjoyed all three philosophy courses I had taken thus far: Formal Logic and Mind and Cosmos, both with Professor Staley, and an ethics course with Professor Brown. Both my theology courses—one with Professor Pilarski and the other with Professor. McMahon—also drove me to my Philosophy minor. I am a strong believer that faith seeks understanding, and my Philosophy minor allows me to continue exploring the Catholic faith.
Q: When and why did you get interested in New Hampshire politics?
A: I became interested during the summer of 2016 because I needed a job, and Senator Kelly Ayotte was hiring. I come from a family with a fairly strong background in Massachusetts politics, but again, this choice was definitely inspired by practical motives. I needed money. My father and I became paid Field Representatives in southern Carroll County. I loved door-knocking and meeting with voters, and after Senator Ayotte lost, I got even more involved. I started going to local and county party meetings, helped local candidates with their campaigns, and ran for state delegate to the party convention in my hometown (Wolfeboro, NH). Eventually, I started getting paid for my work, and now I manage and consult for political campaigns.
Q: In an article that appeared in The Conway Daily Sun, you stated that “the biggest thing I think a representative should do is be an advocate for the people they represent.” What is Wolfeboro like, and what do its people need? What are the biggest problems confronting that part of New Hampshire?
A: Wolfeboro is the second-largest town by population in my county; it has around 6,400 people. It is a mixture of suburban and rural voters, and the average resident’s age is 58.5 years old (making us the second- or third-oldest community in New Hampshire). It suffices to say that we have a lot of retirees. Additionally, Wolfeboro is a resort town and a big summer destination for people all around the world (Wolfeboro is actually dubbed “The Oldest Summer Resort in America” and “The Jewel of Winnipesaukee“). Our community is very dependent on tourism. Because of this, people in Wolfeboro demand a business-friendly climate. This means low taxes for individuals and small businesses and realistic regulations that will not overburden any small, local enterprises. Keeping and promoting this business-friendly climate also helps create more jobs and encourages young families to move into town.
The biggest issues affecting my part of New Hampshire is drug addiction, lack of job creation, and housing costs. In my opinion, all three of these issues are interconnected. Many people in New Hampshire struggle to find a well-paying job because they either live in an area lacking economic development or they lack the skills to do many of the technical jobs that already exist. This makes affording a home or place to live much harder, and the cost of housing in New Hampshire is already high. Due to these unfortunate circumstances, many turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to address the stresses and anxiety of life. The vice of choice tends to be opioids. Wolfeboro needs a state representative willing to fight for it down in Concord, someone who wants to help create a stronger economy and better job training programs, promote and incentivize private developers to build more housing, and someone who will work to combat the Opioid Crisis. These are all things I plan to do if I’m elected.
Q: Do you think that your studies in History and English have made you a better candidate?
Both majors have helped me become a better candidate. They will also help me be a better public servant. My History major has improved my analytical skills and my ability to solve problems. Additionally, it has furthered my knowledge of political systems and my understanding of politics. My English major has helped me better communicate with voters and future constituents. I have noticed you need strong writing skills for everything in life.
Q: What has the campaign trail been like so far, and what’s next?
A: The campaign trail has been fun but obviously busy. I am always working to get yard signs up and to raise funds. I constantly write letters in my local paper, the Granite State News. The next part is to execute and win the election. And after that, I am unsure. If I win I need to start writing some legislation.
Q: Do you plan to make a career of politics, or will your aspirations take you in a different direction?
A: I am unsure if I will ever make a career out of being a state representative, especially because you cannot do that in New Hampshire (they make $200 a term). However, I do see myself continuing to work on political campaigns (for now). I may even start a business with a fellow Saint Anselm College graduate. We will see. I try not to live too far in the future or in the past. I need to win an election first.