“This victory belongs to you.”
That’s what Ed Markey told the crowd celebrating his win on Tuesday night, and indeed, this victory belongs to every volunteer who spent time on the phone and knocking on doors in neighborhoods across the state. As I reflect on the election, I think the results reaffirm that Massachusetts voters are looking for elected leaders who reflect their values on a variety of progressive issues, including women having access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health care options (which, as we know, Gabriel Gomez did not support).
A strong majority of Massachusetts voters expect their elected leaders to protect health care access and to trust women to make their own health care decisions. Senator-elect Markey’s decades of consistent support for women’s access to health care resonated with voters and played a critical role in this election. Numerous polls reported Markey leading among women, some by as much as 24 points. One of the lessons of this election is that candidates with progressive values and an excellent field operation can win.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes ran a multi-layered voter education campaign during the general election, making more than 72,000 calls and delivering literature to 74,300 households. Last week, nearly 4,000 voters participated in a telephone town hall meeting sponsored by Planned Parenthood Federal PAC to discuss women’s health with Ed Markey. On that call, it was clear to me that Massachusetts voters want candidates to stand up for women’s right to safe, legal abortion and access to birth control.
As attacks on women’s health continue in Washington, D.C. and across the country, we can rest a little easier, knowing we have Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to fight against extreme proposals. While we are proud of our Senators, we can’t rest on our laurels. With such a small percentage of the electorate voting on Tuesday, we have work to do to ensure victories when large numbers of voters turn out (as will likely happen in November 2014).
As a non-partisan organization, we support candidates, whether they are a Democrat or Republican, who trust women to make their own health care decisions. Planned Parenthood is ready to get back to work so we assure that all our elected leaders trust women.
President, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund