Evan Garber: Kennedy, not Markey, is a genuine progressive

Published: 7/3/2020 2:00:22 PM
Modified: 7/3/2020 2:00:11 PM
Kennedy, not Markey, is a genuine progressive

There are many ways for an elected official to demonstrate their progressive approach, including policy priorities and how they represent their constituents.

Joe Kennedy III has shown himself to be a genuine progressive, and I’m concerned with the general lack of fact checking that has allowed Sen. Ed Markey to hold himself up as a lifelong progressive and call Kennedy a progressive in name only. Where is the accountability when a cursory review of Markey’s voting record reveals a laundry list of conservative positions?

Markey opposed desegregation busing for Boston schools in the 1970s, maintained an anti-abortion stance until 1983, and voted in favor of the disastrous 1994 Crime Bill and invasion of Iraq. In the aftermath of 9/11, Markey voted for the Patriot Act that opened the floodgates of mass surveillance at the expense of civil liberty, and more recently voted “present” on Syria and the Green New Deal (his signature legislation).

Meanwhile, Kennedy has well exceeded any litmus test of progressive values and has, accordingly, been endorsed by the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Just a few examples of Kennedy’s progressive credentials include serving as chair of the Congressional Transgender Equality task force, earning liftetime ratings of 95% or higher with the League of Conservation Voters and Progressive Punch, rejecting PAC money, and fighting to end the filibuster and Electoral College.

Beside policies, progressive leaders are invested in connecting with people, and being with the people they represent. To do that, you have to show up. To those of us western Massachusetts, voters who often feel left behind by our own politicians, showing up is especially important. I grew up in Chicopee and now live in Amherst, and I have seen Joe Kennedy in western Mass more in the last eight months than I have ever seen Markey in our neck of the woods.

I’d like to see more voters across the commonwealth become engaged, and start reading up on candidates’ claims and records, so that they know the truth about the choice they face in the Sept. 1 primary between these two Democrats.

Evan Garber

Amherst


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