Jake Brymner on Working with Congressman Swalwell

Brymner poses for a photo.

Brymner poses for a photo.

Evan McClure, Staff Writer

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Jake Brymner is a 25 year old staff member of Congressman Eric Swalwell’s (15th District, CA) office in Pleasanton, CA, where he works as Constituent Services Manager. He has held this position since January 2013. He graduated from College Park High School in 2008, and from UC Berkeley with degrees in Political Science and History in 2012.

Brymner has been involved in politics since his freshman year of college, when he volunteered on-campus working for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. His job was to use social media, such as Facebook, to find and contact students at Cal who came from out-of-state, especially ones who came from swing states. He asked these students to register themselves and encouraged them to vote in their home state, which would have a greater impact in a swing state than in California.

In 2010, Brymner worked as an intern for Jerry Brown’s (D-CA) campaign for a third-term as the governor of California, and applied his previous campaign experience. “It was really across the board,” Brymner explained. “We worked on projects ranging from developing a list of contacts in labor, promoting the Gov.’s campaign on social media, and recruiting local activists across the state to become chairs for the campaign in their home counties.” Sometimes, a research project would also present itself.

While Brymner went to UC Berkeley from 2008 to 2012, he heard about a position as Constituent Services Manager prior to working with Rep. Swalwell’s staff through Ethan Rarick, Director of the Matsui Center at Cal, and via other people. The Matsui Center is a non-profit organization that helps college students get fellowships, internships, and job opportunities. Brymner had made enough contacts with the interviewers for the job, but he was offered the job itself by Congressman Swalwell in a second round of interviews.

Between June 2011 and June 2012, Brymner worked as a Legislative intern in San Francisco City Hall, where he handled constituent relations, questions and concerns, managed online content and updates, and researched a range of urban, transportation, and budget policy issues.

Between September and November 2014, Brymner worked as a Field Coordinator for the Yes on Measure BB, which is a transportation sales tax measure for Alameda County, and it passed with a 70.8% voter approval. It will help expand BART and other essential transportation improvements.

California’s 15th congressional district (which covers eastern Alameda County, Hayward, Fremont, Pleasanton, Livermore, and San Ramon) includes 3 offices operated by 15 people who work for the Congressman. Brymner’s job is to talk to their constituents on Rep. Swalwell’s behalf, and communicate what the Congressman is doing. He also researches and analyzes issues that are affecting residents of the district, and gives these reports to Rep. Swalwell, who uses these to understand the issues that his district faces. His position also entails helping constituents deal with problems related to the government, such as aid with Social Security, Medicare, etc.

One of Brymner’s proudest moments was when he prevented the foreclosure of an elderly care home, by mediating between the owners’ insurance company, the owner, and the owner’s relatives. Ownership of the elderly care home was given to one of the owner’s relatives, and was prevented from foreclosure.

When asked what his favorite part of the job is Brymner said “everyday can be different.” He could be doing one thing one day, and then do a different thing the next day. The most redeeming parts of his job are when he prevents evictions and foreclosures. His favorite days are the election days, because he can see if all of his hard work paid off. So far it has.

When Brymner was growing up, he always read the news, because “I always wanted to know who drove the news.” He now works with those people, making actual changes to people’s lives. His hope is that there are people who are tired of the political gridlock and want to make changes. His advice to young, aspiring political science majors looking to make a career in politics is to “get off-campus, and get involved,” and to make a lot of contacts in the political field. He also wants them to remember that the voters decide on what issues the government will address.