• Professor's Political Campaign Activism Benefits Students


Back in the mid-sixties Professor Richard Beinecke and his pal Howard Dean left their homes in New York and spent one summer working on a Florida ranch run by Cuban exiles. The pair worked 11 hours a day, six-and-a-half days a week earning $1.15 an hour. They spent their days alongside migrant workers, people who had participated in the Bay of Pigs, and heard stories of overt racism. “We saw things that two rich kids for New York had never seen before,” says Beinecke.

That summer, he says, he and Dean vowed to devote their lives to public service. Dean, of course, went on to become a doctor and a politician and is currently chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Beinecke went on to earn three degrees and is now an associate professor in the Public Management and Healthcare departments at Suffolk. But before he got there, he spent years immersing himself in political activism starting during his undergraduate years at Williams College.

Nowadays, in addition to all the teaching, research, and publishing that he needs to do in his role at Suffolk, he’s still politically active—incredibly politically active. Beinecke is currently volunteering on six campaigns from state representative Cory Atkins to presidential candidate Barack Obama. Last year, he was very active with Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas' run for Congress and last April she spoke to Suffolk MPA students and alumni. Where does he find the time? “It’s what I do for fun,” he says. Fun means email blasts to other local volunteers, organizing rallies, and delivering and planting signs to Concord residents.

His political role is a bonus for his students. In return for his work he asks candidates and politicians to speak to his classes once in while or to read a paper by one of his graduate students if he thinks it might be useful for policy decisions. Politicians are certainly relevant in Beinecke’s classrooms, where his students are studying global issues like health, poverty, and climate change. He also teaches a graduate class on leadership.

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Professor Richard Beinecke