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We Represent People Who Need Change. That's Why We Support Joe Kennedy

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III prepares to debate incumbent Sen. Edward J. Markey at the Western Mass News station in Springfield, MA on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III prepares to debate incumbent Sen. Edward J. Markey at the Western Mass News station in Springfield, MA on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

En español traducido por El Planeta Media.

Massachusetts holds itself up as a progressive beacon for the rest of the country to follow. But COVID-19 shone a shameful light on the stubborn inequities that persist in our own backyard, between the haves and have-nots; white, Black and brown; the wealthy and the working class.

To many, those fault lines were unexpected and unforeseen. To us, they were the throughways that we travel every day. And that is the issue that lies at the heart of the Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary race between Congressman Joe Kennedy and Senator Ed Markey. Joe walked those faultlines and traveled those throughways with us. He wasn’t surprised when our communities were hit hardest, because it is that presence, the literal act of standing and walking beside us, that makes all the difference.

And you can’t do that when you’re never home.

The people we represent need more. They need better. They need progress.

We’ve read the news stories and the back and forth about who is more progressive. It’s clear to us that both candidates can claim the progressive mantle. And of course, we want a senator who will fight hard in Washington for Medicare for All and climate action. But you can’t just hold progressive values; or simply give a “yea” or “nay” (or present) in the Chamber. If it were that simple, we wouldn’t be here.

The people we represent need more. They need better. They need progress.

We need a senator who understands this job does not begin or end in Washington, DC. We need a senator who lives here and who looks us in the eyes when he asks what we need. We need a senator who will take the time to build deep, trusting relationships within our cities and towns because it is our cities and towns hit hardest by the seismic gap between progressive ideas and progressive action.

The people we represent need change. And, in this race, Joe Kennedy is the one who will bring it.
Change is in his bones. It’s in his heart and his mind. Because unlike too many white politicians who have come before him, he isn’t willing to set aside the march for justice when the fight is too hard or sacrifices need to be made. Because he knows Black and brown people in this country have been patient for far too long. To him, the status quo isn’t just unacceptable, it’s immoral. He knows our communities can’t survive without change, without justice. In Gateway Cities he’s visited across the state, he knows the status quo has worn out its welcome.

That’s why we know Joe Kennedy will be a different kind of senator than Ed Markey. We know this because we know Joe. He shows up in our communities. And then he shows up again. He swings by our bakeries, visits our health centers, pops into our fire stations and walks through our streets. He calls us, he listens, he asks what we need. He leverages his political capital on behalf of those most underserved, most unnoticed and most unheard. He does so much more than the bare minimum this job requires.

This is the Joe we know. He is compassionate and he is courageous, not just when the cameras are on and when it’s comfortable, but — most critically — when they are off and it’s not.

This is a moment of reckoning for our country. From the wreckage of COVID-19, to the presidency of Donald J. Trump and the centuries of racial injustice being protested in our streets: We need the next generation’s leaders to champion the epic work of fixing what is badly broken in America today. We cannot afford a U.S. senator who is anything less than relentless in the fight for the change we need. We cannot afford a U.S. Senator that has repeatedly been on the wrong side of justice — and not just once or twice. We cannot afford a U.S. senator who is absent.

From Boston, Springfield, Chelsea and Worcester, we are elected leaders, moms and dads, workers, organizers and small business owners. We are telling you that where we come from, trust is earned. And if you haven’t earned it after a half-century in office, we’re not going to trust you with another six years in power.

From Boston, Springfield, Chelsea and Worcester, we are elected leaders, moms and dads, workers, organizers and small business owners ... where we come from, trust is earned.

We don’t have time to waste. If you haven’t changed, or can’t even acknowledge that you need to change, then we need to enact the change ourselves.

Massachusetts deserves a United States senator that will be a fierce advocate for Black and brown people, working families, the overlooked and the underserved and a constant, energetic presence in our communities. We’re choosing both, because we deserve both. We’re choosing Joe Kennedy on September 1st.

About the authors: Tracye Whitfield and Malo Brown are Springfield city councilors. Roy Avellaneda is the president of the Chelsea city council. Khrystian King is a Worcester city councilor. And Steven Tompkins is Suffolk County sheriff.

Editor's note: Ahead of the Mass. primary on Sept. 1, Cognoscenti is featuring supporters of both candidates for U.S. Senate. You'll find the case for Sen.Ed Markey here

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