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Passion For Public Service

Bruno Freitas, ’96, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
Story Series
Bridgewater Magazine

Bruno Freitas knew on the day his mother was sworn in as a citizen of the United States that it would be a life of public service for him. He was six years old.

The naturalization ceremony had been moved from the John F. Kennedy Federal Building to Boston’s historic Old North Church. The Naturalization Oath of Allegiance that day was administered by the late Senator Edward Kennedy. “It was really amazing,” Mr. Freitas said. “A really poignant and surreal moment.”

Seeing a nationally known politician – a member of the Kennedy family, no less – talking with his mother and the other newly minted citizens planted a seed. Mr. Freitas has spent more than a quarter century as a staffer and aide to high-profile politicians. Today, he is the deputy chief of staff for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Mr. Freitas and his parents came to the United States from Portugal, but it was growing up in New Bedford that most shaped him for a life of service both locally and in the nation’s capital. “I saw firsthand the power of government to help people,” he said. “When I was young, if you had a problem you could go to Senator Kennedy’s (local) office, and they would make things right.”

He has been working with Senator Warren for nearly a decade, taking on various roles. Previously, he’d served in several positions, including chief of staff and legislative director, for retired Congressman Barney Frank.

Mr. Freitas now lives in Virginia and spends his days working on policies and programs in a number of areas, including infrastructure, climate change, energy, small business programs, the federal budget and Massachusetts-related priorities. Senator Warren serves on three committees, meaning Mr. Freitas and the other 40 or so members of her staff are always busy.

He credits Bridgewater State, in particular, Dr. Michael Kryzanek, professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science, for setting him on his career path. As a student, Mr. Freitas earned a scholarship and served an internship in Barney Frank’s office.

“I’ll forever be grateful to Bridgewater,” he said. “It can be challenging to find your pathway, and sometimes it seems like such an uphill climb. A scholarship, an internship, these can help you get a foot in the door for what can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

He still enjoys the hands-on aspect of the job where he meets and assists constituents, as well as regular trips home to Massachusetts where he can see the impact of the policies and initiatives he’s worked on. “That’s the biggest thing – you know you’re not doing it for yourself, but for your community,” Mr. Freitas said. “It’s challenging work, but incredibly rewarding.”

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