UMass Democrats urged to campaign and vote by Reps. Kennedy and McGovern

By Stuart Foster

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(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

Democratic students of the University of Massachusetts were asked to campaign for all Democratic candidates in the upcoming Massachusetts election at a stop on the Your Voice, Your Vote college tour.

The event, which was organized by the College Democrats of Massachusetts, featured 4th District U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Massachusetts Rep. Steve Kulik and Massachusetts Sen. Ben Downing, who has worked as the chair of the coordinated campaign for the Massachusetts Democrats in this election.

The event was held in Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall East, the walls covered in political signs advocating Martha Coakley for governor, Maura Healey for attorney general, Deb Goldberg for treasurer and Joe Kennedy for representative.

“We know that when Democrats are in positions of leadership, this state moves forward,” said Downing in a speech that criticized the recent history of Republican governors in Massachusetts, who were in office 16 years before Gov. Deval Patrick’s election in 2006.

Downing said those 16 years were the reason for Massachusetts’ national ranking in job creation (47th) and the state’s billion-dollar deficit at the time of Patrick’s election.

Downing also referred to Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker’s approval of the Big Dig Project in Boston saying, “He restricted our ability to grow and create jobs”.

Downing contrasted this with Patrick’s leadership over the past eight years, recognizing Massachusetts as No. 1 in the nation for educational achievement, health care coverage, energy efficiency and marriage equality because of Democratic administration in the state.

Kennedy and McGovern both focused on the importance of campaigning for Democratic candidates in the next week, especially in what may be a very close race for the governor’s office.

“This is going to be a very tight race, but we have to keep this momentum going,” said McGovern, who represents Amherst in the U.S. House of Representatives. “There are people who may not read every piece of political literature in their mailbox, but they will respond to a human being,” he added.

Kennedy had the same message, and said, “If you can’t go out and knock on those doors, make some phone calls.” He continued, and said this was an effort to support the “one candidate in this race for governor who is committed to recognizing we are all in this together.”

Both spoke harshly of the Republican-led House of Representatives, with Kennedy calling the legislature the “worst Congress in history.” Kennedy criticized the body for “gutting food stamps, unemployment insurance and affordable housing” and for “refusing to acknowledge climate change even exists.”

McGovern also endorsed a “yes” vote on Ballot Question 4, which would require all employers to give paid sick days based on hours worked, arguing, “You shouldn’t have to lose your job if you have a sick loved one at home, or if you get sick.”

Kulik, who represents the First Franklin District, also spoke to ensure voters the Democratic Party can win this election. He was the only speaker at the event who is running opposed next week, against Republican nominee Dylan Korpita.

The speakers were introduced by the President of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, Marvin McMoore, and the Vice President of the CDM, Chelsea Carrier, who referred to the speakers as “champions” for issues such as environmental causes and voting rights “in the legislature.”

When questioned on Martha Coakley’s support of the Common Core program in Massachusetts, Downing clarified that both Coakley and Baker supported the initiative, and could not speak on behalf of Coakley.

The Massachusetts general election will be held on next Tuesday, Nov. 4th.

Stuart Foster can be reached at [email protected]