As it turned out, lots of people were impressed with Ken Donnelly. In a race featuring three sitting state representatives with significant local followings, he placed second overall. He topped the ticket in Billerica, and was a strong second place finisher in every other municipality in the district. This is significant, because it demonstrated that Ken Donnelly was able to build support in communities that are very different from each other. He did it without downplaying his strongly-held beliefs in economic and social justice. He spoke of a need for strong public schools and vibrant communities that are affordable and attractive to young people. He spoke of alternative energy and improved public transportation as the keys an economic future that is currently in jeopardy due to a reliance on foreign oil. He spoke of the need for single-payer health care. He spoke of the need for a graduated income tax. He spoke with clarity, compassion, and conviction, and gained tremendous respect across the district.
Ken Donnelly has a very deep knowledge of the workings of state government. Most important, he has a strong knowledge of the workings of the boards, commissions, and agencies that fly under the radar but have a significant impact on our lives. I have no doubt that he will be able to master the details of the job, and will be a very capable representative of the hopes and dreams of the people of the Fourth Middlesex district.
Ken Donnelly would be a very capable senator, but also has the potential to become a transformational leader. Here is a man who has a photo of Caesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, and John F. Kennedy in his office, and can speak progressive values with conviction well beyond the usual suspects. He is the kind of person who can bring people together to support the difficult but necessary decisions required to make Massachusetts competitive in the future.
I hope you will join me in voting for Ken Donnelly in the Democratic senate primary next September.