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U.S. Senator Scott Brown '85

hot seats, cool heads

US Senator Scott Brown

On the BC Law ethos:

I attended Boston College because it’s one of the best law schools in the country, it’s in Massachusetts, and it has a long and storied history. The student body is also very diverse; there were individuals who had just finished their undergrad, and others who had been in the working world for years.  I met other students from all walks of life, with a wide range of experiences. Many of the relationships I developed while at BC Law, I still maintain today. My experiences at BC certainly motivated me to stay engaged in public service.

What is your definition of effective leadership?

Having the ability to think for yourself. I have always been an independent thinker, and I approach each issue with an open mind. I make decisions based on facts and developing an understanding of a certain issue, without the influence of outside groups who are trying to guide my choice. This commitment to independent thought is reflected in my bipartisan approach as a Senator. I look at each issue on the merits and consider how it will affect the people who elected me.

On making decisions:

Before anything, I think it’s important to have all of the facts at hand. Consider the Senate debate in late 2010 over the new START Treaty to limit nuclear arms with Russia. During the debate, I was receiving pressure from both sides to make a decision, but I wasn’t satisfied that I had all the necessary information. I did my research, met with experts involved, spoke with various agencies and officials (both in the U.S. and overseas) and then when I was satisfied that the treaty would be good for our country, I voted for it. This is an example of the thoughtful approach I take with each and every issue that comes before me.

On improving as a leader:

There is always room to learn and grow. Part of being a good leader is having a constant appetite for new information. It is also important to understand the changing dynamics of a situation, and to grow with it.

On bringing people together:

BC taught me the importance of doing my own research to fully understand issues. I study the facts, analyze different angles, and then keep an open mind and work with people of good will on both sides of every issue. This has always been my approach: Work together and make progress, rather than enemies.

How has your leadership style evolved?

I’ve only been in the Senate for two years, but since I’ve been there, I have made it a point to work with any person of good will on each and every issue. Keeping an open mind and taking the time to listen and understand where others are coming from have become my top priority. I’m always looking to solve problems and find common ground.

Name exemplars of good leadership:

Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy

On changing your position:

It is important to be transparent in my communication of what I am thinking and doing. If my mind changes based on gathering new information, so be it. It is important to make an informed decision that is in the best interest of the people that I represent.