Letters to the Editor

Thank You

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank all the people that stopped to help me when I had my bicycle accident on Sunday morning, July 26 at Short Beach in Beachmont. The Winthrop EMT,s, Revere Fire Dept., Mr. Gill(of Gill Oil Co.) and Richie & Leighanne Strangie of Winthrop. Thanks for the many get well cards I have received since my accident. After Hospital & rehab I am now home and on the way to recovery.

Thank You; Jim “Gus” Foley & Family

Looking at the Democratic Primary Election

Dear Editor,

The Democratic Primary Election on Tuesday, September 1st produced some winners and losers among the candidates, and among their organizers.

First, Speaker Robert DeLeo was the top vote-getter in Winthrop as usual. However, he also was one of the key reasons that Senator Ed Markey did so well in Winthrop, gaining more that 58% of the vote over Joe Kennedy, surpassing his statewide average of 55%. When the Speaker talks, the people of Winthrop listen.

Second, State Senator Joseph Boncore was the second highest vote getter in the Town, about 60 votes behind DeLeo. However, he was unable to translate his popularity to Kennedy, who finished more than 700 votes behind Markey.  This is the second Democratic Primary election in a row where the Senator backed a young, promising candidate who fizzled during the campaign.  Two years ago, Boncore backed Josh Zakim in his challenge to Secretary of State Bill Galvin. However, this will have no long term effect on Senator Boncore who is well liked and well respected at the State House and in his district.  If he produces a Transportation Bond Bill that will benefit the state and his district before the end of the year, he will be a legislative champion.

Third, Alicia DelVento, Winthrop for Markey Campaign Organizer, did a terrific job for Senator Markey.  Not only did she preside over a huge rally for Markey on the Town Hall Lawn last month, but she impressed volunteers and town residents with her intelligence, passion, gracious presence, and diligence.  I would not be surprised if she is a candidate for public office in this community in the very near future.

Fourth, Valentino “Tino” Capobianco did not fare so well in his campaign efforts for Joe Kennedy.  After hosting Kennedy at his house last year, the local effort died out as the campaign progressed this year.  Capobianco has not had a great track record in recent years including backing Peter Koutoujian against Katherine Clark for Congress and Michael Sullivan against Marian Ryan for Middlesex District Attorney.

The big winner in the primary, of course, was Ed Markey, who was underestimated by Joe Kennedy and his campaign, and political pundits in the Commonwealth.  But Markey is a visionary and a hard worker.  The biggest decision that Ed Markey made that affected the election occurred on February 7, 2019 when he introduced the Green New Deal with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).  This was six months before Kennedy contemplated challenging Markey.  It was typical of Ed Markey to think big as a legislator, to challenge the status quo. He also hitched his wagon to the biggest rising star in progressive Democratic Party politics. Seventy-four year old Eddie Markey was suddenly “cool” on the environment the way Bernie Sanders was on Medicare for All.

Once word of Kennedy’s potential challenge started to leak out, Ed Markey laced up his sneakers and lined up local endorsements from Senator Elizabeth Warren and five other Massachusetts Members of Congress, Mayor Marty Walsh and two dozen other mayors in the Commonwealth, Speaker DeLeo and one hundred other state representatives, and Senate President Karen Spilka and twenty three other state senators.  He also won support from several labor unions and many progressive organizations. His campaign was on the move with financial support, favorable press coverage, terrific advertising and social media, and hordes of young political and environmental activists as well.

A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll on September 8, 2019 had Kennedy leading Markey by 14 points, 42 percent to 28 percent. By March 1, 2020, before the pandemic hit, Markey had cut Kennedy’s lead to 6 points, 42 percent to 36 percent. On August 26, 2020, a week before the Democratic Primary, Markey was leading Kennedy by 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent. Finally, when the votes were counted on Election Day, Markey beat Kennedy 55 percent to 45 percent.   From that first poll a year before the election, Markey increased his support by 27 percent while Kennedy only increased his by 3 percent.

The big loser, of course, was Joe Kennedy, who underestimated the intelligence of the Democratic Primary voters. He never made a compelling case for his candidacy against Markey and stumbled in the early debates. His eight year record as a legislator in Congress was pretty thin and he tried to convince the electorate that the job of a U. S. Senator is to raise money for candidates across the country, and to spend a lot of time around the Commonwealth meeting constituents. When that did not work, he attacked Markey with negative ads on how many nights he stayed in Massachusetts and on perceived criticism of the Kennedy legacy. It was not a criticism of the legacy, but rather a criticism of “privilege”. What Joe Kennedy found out on Election Day is that Democrats in Massachusetts expect their Senators to be leaders in our Nation’s Capitol on important issues like Elizabeth Warren, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and yes, Ed Markey.

Joe Kennedy found his voice late in the campaign on the issue of racial justice.  He was sincere and passionate.  He campaigned hard in “Gateway Cities” across the Commonwealth which are predominately communities of color.  His concession speech on Election Night was gracious, humble and uplifting.  There is no doubt a future for Kennedy in politics if he waits for the right office at the right time. If he asked me, I would recommend that he utilize his Harvard Law School education to fight for criminal justice reform.  Step away from the spotlight and do some good work for several years.  Then, perhaps, an opportunity to run for Attorney General would open up where he could fight “for the people”.

William Schmidt

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