I’m sure everyone knows that the first debate between Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy is taking place this Tuesday evening (tomorrow) at 7pm, on WGBH Boston. I know I’ll be glued to the TV.
I’m wondering what folks are looking to hear about from both candidates? I have many questions for both of them. But if I were moderating the debate, some of my top questions would be:
- On leadership:
- How do you see the role of a Senator, in terms of local/in-state leadership and national leadership? What are concrete examples of how you have/would balance these demands over the next 6 years?
- Republicans do a great job of “grooming” new leadership in their party, but Democrats seem far less focused on that (e.g., President Obama has been widely criticized on this front). What do you see as your responsibility to the broader Democratic party, in terms of strengthening its impact, and preparing new leaders/building a deep bench for the future.
- On timing: Each of you have been criticized for your candidacy in this race – one for running too soon, and one for staying too long. How do you answer these criticisms? In particular, for Congressman Kennedy, why not stay in the House, build seniority/influence there, and then run for higher office in 6 or 12 years?
- On democracy:
- In the absence of federal attention to the integrity of US elections, what can Massachusetts do to ensure that elections within the Commonwealth are protected?
- You both agree that the filibuster should be ended. What other structural changes do you want to see at the federal level?
- Congressman Kennedy has called on Senator Markey multiple times to sign the People’s Pledge (which was introduced by Elizabeth Warren years ago, signed by Senator Markey in both his previous Senate races, and signed by Joe Kennedy and then-candidate Shannon Liss-Riordan in December 2019). Senator Markey has countered with a modified version that has not yet been tested in any previous campaigns. In the absence of agreement on the People’s Pledge, how will you ensure that your decisions won’t be affected by donors or other outside influences?
- On the environment: Many people feel that the climate crisis is the greatest existential threat to humankind today. You both co-sponsored the Green New Deal. If you could get 1 concrete intervention from the Green New Deal automatically enacted, which would it be and why?
- On equality: What do you think of the fact that there are no women or people of color in this race? What do you concretely do in your daily work to address gender inequality (e.g., in your campaigns, legislative offices, professional appearances)? How do you engage constituents who don’t look like you?
- On the economy: Right now there seems to be a split within the Democratic party regarding economic systems, and whether capitalism is viable in the face of corporate corruption, stagnant worker wages, and dramatic (and increasing) income inequality. How would you like to see the roles of democratic socialism and free market economy play out in the next 6 years?
What would you add?