Monday, September 9, 2013

Progressive Moments Here and There

New Yorkers go to the polls tomorrow and there is a chance to elect two progressives whose careers I have followed for many years. Not only that we are just a few weeks away from the same chance here in Massachusetts with two other very special people.

In New York City the primary election for local offices is tomorrow. A abdicate that gets 40% of the vote and has the most votes wins the nomination outright. If the leader does not reach the threshold then the top two finishers have a runoff a few weeks later. Gale Brewer and Bill DiBlasio are on the verge of outfit victories in their respective races.

I have known Gale and followed her career since the late 1970's where I was a classmate of her brother. Gale served the community as the top aid to then Councilmember Ruth Messinger. From that time until today, as an elected official in her own right, she has been a zealous guardian of the interests of the people and he neighborhoods under her care. For a New York looked to change course after the Bloomberg years there could not be a better choice for Manhattan Borough President.

Bill De Blasio is the Public Advocate for the city where he has fought for the interests of working families against hose who would use their money and power to withdraw services and further divide the city by race and income. As Mayor Bloomberg inadvertently pointed out, De Blasio and his family represent the cosmopolitan diversity that makes New York such an interesting and special place. He looks to be on the verge of hitting the 40% threshold and his success would send a powerful message to Democrats across the country about how to talk to the hopes of the average voter.

In Boston, State Representative Marty Walsh is an excellent candidate in a crowded field to succeed retiring Mayor Tom Menino. His personal story is very compelling as he overcame addiction, physical challenges and being shot (yes really) to serve his community in the Legislature. He has worked as an Iron Worker and a union leader and represents everything that you hope for a in a progressive leader. It is a unique opportunity for the City after Mayor Menino's long rule to set another positive direction.

To replace now Senator Ed Markey in the US House a close friend is also in a credible field. State Senator Katherine Clark is an exceptional public servant. A talented and hard working woman she could be making a fortune working as an attorney for a top firm anywhere. Instead she has served the Commonwealth as an attorney, state representative and now State Senator.  Her instincts are very progressive; a supporter of single payer who has made women's rights and the minimum wage as central issues in her campaign. She has taken on tough issues in the State Senate working through changes to the law regarding municipal health insurance and pensions, forging a consensus among unions and state and local officials which represents major achievements. 

I can only hope that these four people have continuing chances to serve their respective constituencies in the roles this aspire toward in the upcoming elections. They can use help through Act Blue or their own websites. But if you live in one of their communities, please at least make sure you vote.

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