Making an appearance at Wellesley on their “Your Voice, Your Vote” College Tour, Congressman Joe Kennedy and Governor Deval Patrick explained just how important the upcoming elections are and why students play a large role.
Hadley Chase ’16, president of Wellesley College Democrats, and President Kim Bottomly introduced Kennedy and Patrick to an excited crowd of politically engaged Wellesley students. Kennedy spoke first, expressing the need for involvement in the next election.
Kennedy thanked Chase and Bottomly, commenting on how good it feels to call somebody, “Madame President.” Wellesley snaps ensued.
“This election is so critically important,” Kennedy said. “This is important for you and me. It is important for us.”
Kennedy explained how critical it is to make our voices heard in the upcoming elections, specifically citing how ineffective the GOP-run House of Representatives has been. He detailed what the House has done for the last two years of GOP-leadership.
“[It] shut the government down; gutted unemployment insurance, affordable housing and food stamps; tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act over 50 times; failed to repeal DOMA; failed to increase minimum wage; and failed to act on climate change, energy policy, tax reform, immigration reform and student loans,” he said.
Kennedy then shared an anecdote to explain the mindset he believes our government has employed. When first elected into Congress, Derek Kilmer (D-WA), a fellow Congressman, spoke with Republican colleagues intending to discuss bipartisan initiatives, according to Kennedy. Kennedy claimed that his Republican colleague Kilmer said, “My constituents sent me here to stop you. Whatever it is you want to do, my goal is to block you.”
Kennedy continued to discuss shortcomings of the current state of Congress.
“That is the framework of the debate in Washington D.C.,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to fight.” He continued to emphasize the need for bipartisanship around problems that the next generation will face, listing issues like student loans and debt deficit among others.
He then paid some gratitude to his home state of Massachusetts.
“I get to tell my friends and colleagues what life is like in a community that actually believes that government can be a source for good in our lives — that it can take on these big challenges and recognize that the only way to solve them is investing in ideas,” he said. “That in its heart is what it means to be a Democrat.”
Kennedy ended by introducing Patrick to the audience as a mentor of his. His introduction for the governor included a brief description of Patrick’s roots in Chicago’s south side and his road to a career in public service.
Patrick joined Kennedy’s plea of reiterating the importance of the upcoming election.
“The GOP wants us to be discouraged,” Patrick said.
Patrick went on to tell the audience,“The American Dream is worth fighting for.” He shared his past working within the private sector before running for office, detailing how the mindset for the private sector was short-term — the long run was rarely considered. And he revealed that this is unfortunately how he believes the government is functioning — that the government is governing for the next news or election cycle, instead of for future generations.
Patrick showed his support for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, who is running in a close election against Republican candidate Charlie Baker.
He then shared a story about how he was able to change one man’s life personally by signing the Criminal Record Information reform, which would give employment opportunities to criminals after they have served their sentences.
At the end of the event, both Patrick and Kennedy answered a few questions and finally reiterated how important it was that people — specifically young, college educated people — make sure to vote and make sure that their voice is heard.
Photo by Alice Liang ’16, Co-Editor-In-Chief