~Submitted by Fahad Ken Alden
In one of my recent podcasts, “Lessons We Can Take from Today,” while running for a seat on the library’s Board of Trustees, I talked about the lessons I learned, mistakes I made, and funny moments that I experienced. The podcast also included voice recordings of some of the people who helped guide me through the process.
Although it was daunting, I felt like I connected with a lot of people and it might have helped me win the election.
One of my biggest goals is to encourage more people to run for office. In my relentless encouragement, I often hear, “I am not an elected official type,” which reminds me of the same sentiments that I once parroted.
We often see people in positions of power as different from us, more qualified than us, and more confident than us. However, as we listen to their stories and lessons that offer a bridge over the great divide, we come to realize that although everyone is unique, we all have commonalities, and, just as important, everyone has the potential to serve and offer their valuable gifts and varied talents.
Take me, for instance. One thing is for sure, I certainly do not fit into any “perceived” mold. I, like my father, am an Iraqi refugee. We come from low income, and my dad has to work three different jobs just to be able to live in Bedford. I struggled greatly in school, so much so that I had to retake the math MCAS. Little did I know that what I believed to be my weaknesses as a candidate were, in reality, my biggest strengths.
More and more, people are searching for authenticity, integrity, and dependability in their government and Bedford surely is no different.
Most of the time in local (and all) government, people who have the status, resources, and power become an echo chamber for the rest of us. But it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be that way.
Bedford is filled with people from all walks of life, coming from a variety of places filled with varied talents and rich experiences. These people are the ones that can flip that notion upside down. It is up to everyday people, just like you and me, to challenge the status quo and bring their perspectives to the table.
Utilizing my unique qualities, wisdom, and interests as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Bedford Library, I have, for example, been able to open up a great conversation on the importance of free printing, author visits, and technological advancements to the library.
Come on; it’s time for you to step up to the plate. Political infighting and complaining will not achieve real solutions to tangible problems. Ignore all the naysayers, especially the biggest ones being in your head, and make that leap. It’s your time to serve and make a difference!
To listen to my podcast, go to: https://open.spotify.com/episode/694iqBEbVjMmKlDyljPnDL?si=MiOtkOoFQnKiKbYVYDt9xA.
Fahad is a sophomore at UMass – Lowell majoring in digital media major with a minor in law. When he’s not a student, he hosts a podcast on Spotify called “Lessons We Can Take From Today,” where he interviews professionals from representatives to teachers about life lessons anyone can learn. He was elected to the Bedford Library Board of Trustees in 2021, making him the first middle eastern and youngest person elected in Bedford’s history.
Editor’s note: We welcome people who serve in the Town of Bedford (and are not running for office in 2023) to share their stories of why they serve and why others should, too. For more information, contact Managing Editor Wayne Braverman at [email protected].
Dates and deadlines for the Spring 2023 Election can be found here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=63
Anyone interested in running for Town elected office can seek nomination through at Town Caucus on January 10 or by picking up and submitting signed nomination papers through the Town Clerk by January 20.