Gabe Test 1
After weeks of consideration, Rep. Joe Kennedy III’s mind is made up. He’s going to challenge Sen. Ed Markey, a fellow Democrat, in the upcoming Massachusetts primary election for the U.S. Senate.
“We are in the fight for our lives. Everything that I believe in – that so many of us believe in – is on the line,” Kennedy told WCVB in an exclusive interview about his candidacy for "On the Record." Kennedy was interviewed in Washington, D.C.
The 38-year-old congressman had been mulling over a possible run for several weeks. He spoke with Markey Wednesday to tell him his decision.
Kennedy is keeping details of that conversation confidential, telling OTR hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu only, “I respect Sen. Markey. He is a good man.”
About that same conversation, Markey has said, “I said to him, ‘Welcome to the campaign trail.’”
Kennedy won the congressional seat for Massachusetts' 4th District in 2012 following the retirement of Rep. Barney Frank. He handily won reelection again in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Critics have suggested that Kennedy should wait until Markey retires before running for the Senate.
“Now is not a time for waiting,” Kennedy told OTR. “The challenges we face as a country, telling people, ‘Hold on, wait, things will get better.’ How much longer are people supposed to wait?”
- Watch the full interview with Rep. Kennedy during OTR on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 11:00 a.m.
If elected, Kennedy would be the third member of his extended family to serve in the U.S. Senate. While he’s aware of the recognition that comes with that fact, he is also mindful of asking voters to consider him as a unique legislator.
“My dad’s not on the ballot, my grandfather’s not on the ballot, his brothers aren’t on the ballot, his sisters – who should’ve been on the ballot probably on a number of occasions – they’re not on the ballot. This is me,” Kennedy said. “There’s an opportunity that comes with that where I get to make my case about who I am, what I believe in, who I’m going to fight for.”
Markey, 73, has represented Massachusetts in Congress since 1976. He became a U.S. senator in 2013 following a special election, filling the seat once held by John Kerry.
Kennedy and Markey are both Democrats and both are supporters of the Green New Deal.
“Massachusetts needs a senator that is out in our community. Seeing its people where they are. Lifting up those voices,” Kennedy said. “It is not enough to rest on progressive laurels when there are major, profound inequities across our commonwealth.”
Both Kennedy and Markey have strong working relationships with Massachusetts’ other senator, presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but she has endorsed Markey in the race. Also endorsing Markey is New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who praised him as a progressive champion for working families and the Green New Deal proposal they co-sponsor.
“There’s going to be areas where we overlap, certainly. There’s an awful lot of differences too. On structural, form issues. I don’t take corporate PAC money, he does. I have called for the end of the filibuster so you can actually implement policies like the Green New Deal, he hasn’t. I’ve called for term limits for the Supreme Court so that you tear down or lower the partisanship battles that we see on those confirmations. He has not. When it comes to economic justice, I’ve put forward an entire platform of ideas that need to, I think, take place to make sure we restore economic justice in this country.”
During the OTR interview, Kennedy also repeatedly emphasized his opposition to President Donald Trump’s administration.
“It is not just enough to fight back against Donald Trump,” he said. “If we’re going to do this right, we’ve got to meet the broken system that actually allowed him to win in the first place.”
Kennedy said he believes Trump should be impeached based on the findings of the Mueller report and expressed support for an impeachment inquiry against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Markey is also facing a primary challenge from Shannon Liss-Riordan, a workers' rights lawyer who says she's spent her career representing workers who have been taken advantage of by their employers, including servers whose bosses were taking their tips. She's a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.
Steve Pemberton, a former senior executive at Walgreens, has also announced his candidacy, saying he would focus on issues like education, health care and "the collateral impacts of income inequality." He graduated from Boston College.