BEVERLY — When a woman walked into the Beverly Republican City Committee headquarters on Cabot Street last week, she was greeted by a clean-cut young man eager to answer her questions.
"Are you Brett Sheet-zel?" she asked, struggling to pronounce the name.
"Schetzsle," he responded. "Rhymes with 'pretzel.'"
If Brett Schetzsle has his way, voters won't need any word association games to recognize his name on the ballot Nov. 2.
The 33-year-old Indiana native is literally working full time in his quest to become Beverly's first Republican state representative in 20 years. He has taken unpaid leave from his job as a marketing executive with the Gillette Co. and has raised nearly as much money as his Democratic opponent, Jerry Parisella.
Schetzsle spends so much time in the Republican campaign office that he has set up a portable crib for his 10-month-old twin daughters.
"I'm lucky I've got a very supportive wife. She agreed to allow me to turn my life upside down," he said. "At no point in my life did I think I would be running for state representative in Beverly, Massachusetts. I'm glad the way it turned out. It feels very comfortable."
Schetzsle said he grew up "apolitical" in Indiana, first in Lafayette and then in Vincennes, a town of 25,000 on the Indiana/Illinois border. He was the oldest of four children in what he describes as a one-income middle class family. His father, Bob, was a manufacturing manager and his mother, Jenny, was a stay-at-home mom.
Schetzsle recalls a youth filled with sports — football in the fall, basketball in the winter, baseball in the spring. He was a three-year starter at quarterback for Vincennes Lincoln High School and played three years of college football at DePauw University in Indiana.