by Debra Filcman
By the time Alex Goldstein ’06 turned 27, he was settling into a new job, one of many in the five years since his graduation: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s press secretary.
Goldstein, whose rise in the political arena has been meteoric, says he doesn’t generally reveal his age because he fears people will assume he’s too green. “As soon as you can establish yourself as someone credible and trustworthy, those judgments fall away,” notes Goldstein, a Brookline, Mass., resident who majored in politics and minored in journalism.
Since he began his job in January, Goldstein has enjoyed what he calls the “happy collision” of returning to Brandeis with Patrick for a global trade summit and the “powerfully enlightening” experience of accompanying his boss on a global trade mission to Israel.
When the governor, who had just been elected to a second term, called to offer him the job in December 2010, Goldstein thought, “I guess I’ve got a little more in me.” It’s a strange sentiment for a 26-year-old, but it had already been a long road since senior year. That’s when, as a student previously consumed with playing rugby, writing for the Justice and performing with the improv group False Advertising, he decided to branch out. Volunteering for Patrick’s campaign a few days a week soon became “every spare minute.”
“This is the kind of job where, if you’re not passionate, it’s not sustainable,” Goldstein says. “When you’re putting in these kinds of hours, if you’re not 100 percent committed, you’re going to burn out.” But he is committed to Patrick’s vision and considers the governor his mentor. Over the past seven years he has worked as the Patrick administration’s deputy director of interactive media, deputy press secretary and reelection campaign spokesman, as well as being communications director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party and for the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
His passion even spawned a friendly family competition when, as a Brandeis senior in 2006, he beat his dad, Howard Goldstein ’69, who backed former Attorney General Tom Reilly, to become a Patrick delegate at the Democratic State Convention. “It made lots of great dinner conversation,” Goldstein says, laughing.
It wasn’t the last time his work with Patrick offered giggles for his family or colleagues. After a reporter shadowed Patrick two days before the last election, the story ran with a reference to Goldstein rifling through day-old pastries in the car, creating a reputation he’s been stuck with. “When there’s food around, Gov. Patrick will say, ‘You won’t like this, Alex — it’s too fresh,’” Goldstein says.
It’s probably a quirk that students in the political communications course he’s teaching at Emerson College this semester can relate to. Determined to maintain a balanced life, Goldstein also makes a point of getting to the gym, spending time with friends and family, and returning to the rugby field once in a while.
He’s keeping his options open about the post-Patrick years. Returning to school — as a student or a professor — is a possible option, as is putting his own name on a ballot down the road.