Yes. What about Springfield?
Third largest city in the state. Fourth largest in New England. 156,000 people. A place I have gone to a few times for Democratic State Conventions. Can’t say I know it really well.
But what I do know is that 32% of children who live in Springfield live in poverty according to Census Bureau statistics (but Massachusetts Citizens for Children say the number is around 42% percent). For families with no husband present, 54% of kids live in poverty. These grim statistics compare to 11.8% and 24% in Massachusetts overall.
What I also know is that no one running for US Senate right now is talking about Springfield or the terrible tragedy of child poverty in that city – not to mention Chelsea or Lawrence or New Bedford.
15,732 kids in Springfield are growing up poor. 46% of Hispanic children in Springfield are growing up poor. The poverty rate for Springfield residents speaking only Spanish at home is over twice as high as for those speak English at home. More than half of Springfield children live in a household headed by a single-parent, compared to 23% of children statewide.
The Senate race overlooks all this. It has been drapped in trivialities. Term limits. 9/11 resolutions.
The Republican nominee – an immigrant, an Hispanic, a successful businessman – overlooks what is happening in Springfield. Why?
Yes, I ask this question of Gabriel Gomez more than I do of Ed Markey. This is because while Ed Markey has not talked about child poverty, and I wish he would, Mr. Gomez sticks to a fiscally lunatic and highly detrimental “no new revenue” anti-tax stance, which means deeper cuts to the very programs that keep Springfield kids from starving and learning.
And I ask it of Gabriel Gomez because he says he is not your usual politician and not a usual Republican, and also because of his background as a first-generation immigrant to our country. You would think he would see himself as just the type of role model who could speak to and for the kids of Springfield. You would think that as a succesful businessman he could offer insights in revitalizing the Springfield economy through public-private partnerships. You would think that as a married father of three, he may have something to say about the importance of keeping families together, as the chance of being impoverished is so much worse when a father is not around.
Gomez could talk to these issues. But he doesn’t. He offers nothing in the way of policy ideas, even if they came from a conservative perspective, for what ails Springfield. Alas, while Gomez likes to talk about his background, he has yet to figure out how it translates into policies that can transcend the ideological divide. Springfield, don’t hold your breath waiting for them. While Markey may not be talking about your poor kids – he at least would support policies to aid them.