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Brandeis alumni joins Massachusetts State Senate

Democrat Becca Rausch ’01 was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in the 2018 midterm election, the only Massachusetts State Senate candidate to flip a seat in the election cycle. Rausch is now the second Brandeis alum to be a part of the Massachusetts State Senate, alongside Republican Dean Tran ’97.

According to a BrandeisNOW article, Rausch defeated a four-term incumbent Republican who had also served an additional three terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She won by 2000 votes, or two percentage points. Rausch was officially sworn into office on Jan. 2, 2019.

“I ran for office because I knew I had more to give, and I knew my district needed my leadership and meaningful engagement,” Rausch told The Brandeis Hoot in an email. “I ran to make a difference, to give voice to people previously unheard and to change the conversation.”

The BrandeisNOW article also stated that a “pinnacle moment in her commitment to intersectional social justice” happened when she was 15 and found a swastika drawn on her desk in high school.

Rausch’s classmate, Jaclyn Tetenbaum-Novatt ’01, joined her for the campaigning. Over the course of campaigning, Rausch and her team held a number of events and knocked on the doors of thousands of homes in the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex Senate Districts, spanning 12 different communities, some even as far as the southern border of Rhode Island.

Even though the Democratic field was crowded for the seat, Rausch received over 50 percent of the votes because of her campaigning positions—improving transparency and accountability, mandatory paid parental leave and intersectional justice reform, according to BrandeisNOW.

Rausch told The Hoot in an email that her biggest goal in office is “to represent my district to the best of my ability. To me, this means working with my colleagues to create bold change, being as transparent and accessible as possible with my constituents, and investing energy and innovation in the areas in which my district needs the most assistance.” Rausch listed some of these areas as health care, education and transportation.

According to an article published by BrandeisNOW, Rausch studied American studies and completed a program in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. “At Brandeis, I came to understand the issues of systemic challenges and injustices in a completely new way,” Rausch said in the article. “I had conversations with people with different perspectives and life experiences than mine … The relationships I built at Brandeis played a significant role in my becoming the person, parent and legislator I am now.”

Rausch also told The Hoot, “I learned about and critically analyzed the social and legal systems of this country, including the various points of injustice and inequity. I’ve spent my career working on and through these issues in a variety of different ways.”

Rausch encourages students interested in pursuing politics to talk to as many people as they can. “Every politician’s path to office is different. Every politician does the job differently. Every politician will have advice for you,” Rausch told The Hoot. “Your job is to figure out which advice to take.”

She also says to partake in internships relating to politics. “There is no substitute for seeing the political system in action, up close and personal, just as there is no substitute for conversations with current or former electeds.”

Rausch was also a community advisor (CA), director and choreographer of B’yachad Israeli dance group and an executive board member on Brandeis Hillel. Rausch also was involved in the first Culture X show at Brandeis.

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