Former Massachusetts governor and onetime presidential contender Michael S. Dukakis and his wife, Kitty, are endorsing Senator Edward J. Markey in his Democratic primary race against Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III.
In a phone interview, Dukakis cited Markey’s long record of “gutsy” leadership, starting with his fight for judicial reform as a state representative, a push that angered state House leaders and helped propel Markey into Congress. As governor, Dukakis in 1976 signed into law the legislation that Markey had championed.
Dukakis said Markey has shown similar courage and vision throughout his political career, most notably in his leadership on the environmental front, where the Malden Democrat is “really a giant.”
“Joe Kennedy’s a good guy. He’s my congressman. I like him,” Dukakis said of Markey’s primary rival. But the current political moment, particularly given the urgency of the climate change threat, makes it all the more important to reelect Markey, said the 86-year-old former governor.
“Ed Markey was talking about climate change when none of is knew what it was. . . . It’s very important that he remain in the Senate, particularly at a time when this issue above all is so critical.”
Dukakis, like many establishment Democrats in the state and in Washington, also indicated that he believes Kennedy’s primary challenge against a respected incumbent is an unnecessary distraction from the more crucial task of defeating President Trump.
“I don’t see why we’re engaging in this sort of thing,” Dukakis said. Democrats need to be doing "everything we can to get this strange man out of the White House as quickly as possible.”
The Markey campaign plans to roll out the Dukakis endorsement with a video that features the well-known political couple extolling the candidate’s virtues, interspersed with clips of Markey, including from the youth climate strike in Boston this fall in which young strikers chant his name.
“This Green New Deal movement is not only so important to the future of the planet, but it has encouraged thousands and thousands and thousands of young people to get into this,” Dukakis says in the video. “And he is largely responsible for that."
Markey recently scored the backing of several progressive groups, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NRDC Action Fund, a national environmental group.
Victoria McGrane can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.