Bass Talks Mass: July 10th 2020
Welcome back to “Bass Talks Mass,” to say that this week was eventful in Massachusetts’ Politics would be an understatement. Endorsements, campaigning, plans, interviews, and now, advertising have been flying around in the news world, and as always, we are going to walk through it step by step.
So with that said, let’s talk Mass.
Congressman Joe Kennedy III is on the move as he is visiting areas of Western Massachusetts to promote the launching of his post COVID-19 plan, the “Jobs and Justice Initiative”. Kennedy, in a speech on July 8th noted that “We cannot go back to normal because normal was broken. Normal was an essential worker not being paid an essential wage. Normal was 130,000 Americans that had lost their lives during a pandemic. Normal was a country that elected Donald Trump. Normal was a median income for Black Families in Boston was 8 dollars and for Dominican Families, 0. We don’t want to go back to that normal.” In his visiting to Western Massachusetts towns and cities such as Springfield and North Adams, Kennedy seeks to make inroads with working class voters who’s jobs and services have been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes off the heels of a report in the Boston Herald that Kennedy is leading incumbent Senator Ed Markey by double digits in an internal poll produced in the 1st district of Massachusetts, where many of these towns are located.
Ed Markey is also on the move as well, this time in the I-95 corridor. On Wednesday, the Senator joined Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of MA07 and Boston City Councilor at Large Michelle Wu in Mattapan to discuss the need for free public transit. During this event, Markey and Pressley promoted the legislation that the two of them introduced in June; The Freedom to Move Act. The bill would allocate 5 Billion Dollars towards “Freedom to Move Grants” allowing free and easy means of transportation for those who cannot afford high fares. Markey, a long time advocate for transportation (especially rail) says that, “What the legislation says, quite simply, is that access to public transportation is a critical need in our county and that for poorer people it is an absolute necessity. We need a plan to make sure that there is an accessible system in place for transportation.”
In the Massachusetts 4th Congressional Race, Newton City Councilman Jake Auchincloss has released the first television advertisement of the election. The 30 second ad, titled “A Marine’s Pledge” was launched in New Bedford and Providence this week in an attempt to reach out to the crucial Southeastern voting block that will very likely determine the outcome of the primary. In the ad, Auchincloss is featured with his wife Michelle and his newborn son Teddy as he talks about how his experience in the Marines and how it relates to the problems many Americans face today. “In the Marines, we said, improvise, adapt, overcome. These days every family is doing things and getting things done the best way can.” Auchincloss says in the ad, before going on to criticize the Trump Administration for attacking the Affordable Care Act and education. Despite only raising around $288,000 in the second quarter of campaigning, Auchincloss still has the largest amount of money of the nine Democrats running in the district, and him releasing the first ad of the campaign was no surprise.
Auchincloss was not the only candidate to release a television ad this week in the race. Wall Street Regulator Ihssane Leckey is planning to release a $300,000 ad, the most expensive ad so far in the race. $100,000 would be spent on the Boston and Providence cable zones while the remaining $200,000 would be spent on digital platforms such as Youtube. This ad appeals to more progressive voters within Massachusetts 4th by showing Leckey aligning herself with other progressive icons such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who endorsed Leckey this week. Leckey, a candidate who announced her candidacy before Kennedy announced his Senate challenge to Markey raised a staggering $710,000 this quarter, sixteen times the amount that she raised in quarter one. It is unclear how much of the money was self funded or from small donors, but regardless, the ad and large jump in fundraising is eye catching for many.
One candidate that is continuing to gain traction in the race is epidemiologist Dr. Natalia Linos. Despite her late entry to the race in late April, Linos has managed to not only continue to gain support from younger and older voters, but also has earned endorsements from several community leaders this week such as Amanda Huggon-Mauretti, a member of the Democratic city committee of Fall River, and Rainia C Mcanus of Wellesley. My colleagues and I had the chance to sit down with Dr. Linos on our podcast, “The Cod Cabin” where we asked her questions ranging from her approach to talking and connecting with voters within Fall River and it’s surrounding communities, and the need for South Coast rail. When I asked her about what she would do regarding the poor water quality in the town of Norton Massachusetts, Dr. Linos stated that, “Water is a fundamental right,” and that while she would have to have a closer inspection of the matter, she would spend as much money as she could in order for the citizens of Norton to have safe and dependable water for their town. This very Friday, Linos has released a set progressive policies regarding LGBTQ+ rights, and states that she will hold the Trump Administration accountable for upholding these rights.
Dr. Linos was not the only guest my colleagues and I had on “The Cod Cabin.” On Sunday, we interviewed Colonel Julie Hall of Attleboro Massachusetts, one of two Republicans running in the 4th district. Unlike other Republicans in congress, Hall takes a more middle of the road approach when outlining her agenda. On our program, she states that she supports a faster reopening for the Commonwealth in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as less less “red tape” in how small businesses should operate, but in terms of social issues, she bucks the party in some cases. She is a firm believer on green economics, supporting hydro and aero power, as well as animal rights as a reason to use environmentally friendly means of producing energy. She also stated that despite her giving President Trump high marks on economics, she states that she does not find him to be the best at leadership. “Sometimes I wish we could have it both ways, but unfortunately we can’t”, Hall said when discussing the President.
Former Brookline Select Board Member Jesse Mermell scored her biggest endorsement yet this week. On Tuesday, Mermell was endorsed by the Massachusetts Teacher Association and the National Education Association, two of the biggest education groups in the Commonwealth. Mermell, a vocal advocate for education has been raking in endorsements based on the issue. Merrie Najimy, President of the Massachusetts Teacher Association, states that, “Jesse has consistently dedicated her time and energy to strengthening public education. From standing with educators in the fight to pass the Student Opportunity Act to challenging the state’s high-stakes testing regime, she has prioritized the needs of our students. Jesse understands that our public schools and colleges must be fully funded and fully staffed in order to reopen safely in the fall — and as a member of Congress, she will work hard to bring crucial federal funding back home to support public education. Educators know that we can count on Jesse Mermell to have our backs in Washington, D.C.”
In terms of other MA04 news, CityYear CEO and Candidate Alan Khazei announced a coalition on Wednesday simply named, “Franklin for Khazei.” This coalition is led by Representative Jeffery Roy, and Franklin Town Councilor Robert Dellorco. Once again, this could be a way for Khazei to reach out to the Blue Collar Voters in the southern and middle part of the district. Meanwhile, Obama Speechwriter Dave Cavell released a plan for ranked choice voting. This plan would focus on more positive campaigning as well as higher participation amongst voters. There is already an attempt to put Ranked Choice Voting on the ballot in November, and it seems to be gaining steam.
Finally, in the Massachusetts 1st congressional race, Holyoke Mayor Alex B Morse is continuing to gain attention after the string of progressive wins in New York and in Virginia. In his campaign against incumbent congressman Richard Neal, Morse challenged Neal on why it took too long for the House of Representatives to ask for Trump’s tax returns, as well as the fact that the way Neal asked for them caused the Supreme Court to not allow the House to obtain them until a lower court says it can. Despite the new round of attacks, Neal is still the favorite to win MA01, as he has built a political machine in Springfield which is located in the district, as well as a massive war chest to go against Morse.