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An outpouring of feelings about Jake Auchincloss

Readers react to the Globe editorial board’s endorsement for the Democratic Party primary in the Fourth Congressional District.

Democratic candidates for the Fourth Congressional District seat, clockwise, from upper left: Becky Grossman, Jake Auchincloss, Alan Khazei, David Franklin Cavell, Ihssane Leckey, Christopher Z. Zannetos, Natalia Linos, Benjamin R. Sigel, and Jesse R. Mermell.Pat Greenhouse

Many readers voiced strong opinions about the Globe editorial board’s endorsement of Jake Auchincloss in the Democratic primary for the Fourth Congressional District. Below is a sampling. On Aug. 10, Globe Opinion will host an online interview of Auchincloss by editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman. Readers are welcome to sign up, and submit questions, at

Student campaign volunteers know the field

Over 1,500. That is how many calls we have collectively made to voters in Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District this past week alone. As four high school students working for different candidates in this race, we do not agree on everything, but we do agree on this: Jake Auchincloss is unfit to hold this seat.


Young people are the heart of these campaigns. When Representative Joe Kennedy announced that he was running for Senate, we were paying attention. Jake Auchincloss, a Marine veteran and Newton city councilor, seemed comparable to his competition when he first entered the race. But over the past few months, controversy after controversy has set him apart.

In June, a 2016 letter surfaced in which Auchincloss defended the First Amendment rights of students who flew a Confederate flag outside their high school. Writing to the Newton Public Schools superintendent, he made a deeply inappropriate comparison. “I doubt you would ban a Black Lives Matter banner,” he wrote, “and I know you would not ban an LGBT flag though these might sincerely upset some students.” That same year, when the city of Cambridge changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Auchincloss tweeted that they were “taking PC too far.”

Auchincloss’s racially insensitive comments have an impact on his constituents. This June, Bennett Walkes wrote that as a Black student from Newton, “no individual has made [him]me feel more unwelcomed, unvalued, and unsafe in [his]my hometown than Jake Auchincloss.”


Hours before the Globe endorsed him, a Facebook post about Pakistani lawyers burning the American flag surfaced, in which a 22-year-old Auchincloss wrote, “So we can’t burn their book, but they can burn our flag?” Rather than apologize, Auchincloss claimed that this statement was intended to be sarcastic.

These incidents have been dismissed by some as tone-deaf comments made years ago, but they add up, and his unwillingness to issue a substantive apology is an insult to voters demanding accountability. This pattern of behavior has continued into the election cycle. In July, Auchincloss was removed by organizers from the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, after he received the maximum possible donation from a fossil fuel supplier. Auchincloss then dismissed the pledge, claiming that it had lost credibility.

In its endorsement, the Globe describes Auchincloss as having the most “potential.” Potential for what? If his actions above are any indication, he has the potential to be among the most conservative Democrats in the state, selective in his defense of free speech and ignorance of today’s most pressing civil rights issues.

His is a campaign of contradictions. He presents himself as an environmental leader but unapologetically takes fossil fuel money. He is pro free speech for Confederate flag-wavers, but blocked a constituent on Twitter. He was even a registered Republican from 2013 to 2014.

Here’s the good news: Voters have eight other candidates to choose from. This race is full of qualified contenders. As interns on three different campaigns, we won’t tell you to vote for one candidate over the other. Just vote for anyone but Jake Auchincloss.


Emma Larson


Leora Soibelman


Ariela Zuckerman


Tal Yahalom


All four writers are high school student interns working on campaigns in the Fourth Congressional District. Larson is a senior at Newton North High School working for the Becky Grossman campaign. Soibelman is a high school senior working for Dave Cavell. Zuckerman is a junior working for Jesse Mermell. Yahalom is a senior working for Grossman. Soibelman, Zuckerman, and Yahalom all attend Gann Academy in Waltham.

Why not a woman?

We were are dismayed that the Globe editorial board did not endorse one of the four outstanding women candidates for the Fourth Congressional District seat. Each brings a breadth of skills and experience relevant to the issues we face today.

Natalia Linos is not just only an epidemiologist but has also worked with the World Health Organization and the United Nations on issues of poverty and has expertise in COVID-19, income inequality, and climate change.; Jesse Mermell brings 20 years of experience crafting progressive policies, including the Paid Family and Medical Leave law.; Ihssane Leckey, a woman of color, worked as a Wall Street regulator at the Federal Reserve and brings a deep understanding of inequality based on her immigrant experience. And, like Jake Auchincloss, former assistant district attorney Becky Grossman serves on the Newton City Council and is chair of its Finance Committee.


The need for more women’s voices at all levels of government has never been more urgent with growing economic inequality, which disproportionately affects women; brutality toward immigrants, minorities, and children; attacks on reproductive choice; and widespread sexual harassment, including the appalling, derogatory behavior of the president toward women. Even after making gains in 2018, women hold only 23.7 percent of congressional seats, despite representing more than 50 percent of the population. While Auchincloss has a fine background, we respectfully disagree with the editorial board’s assertion that he “stands out” among the many strong candidates.

The Globe had the opportunity to support gender equity in Congress by endorsing one of four qualified women. We hope voters will take a close look at the candidates and consider the impact of their vote for their daughters and for women worldwide.

Amy Willis

Juliana Willis


This was the right choice

The Globe editorial board’s endorsement process for public office candidates is thorough, disciplined, and inclusive. The endorsement of Jake Auchincloss in the Democratic primary for the Fourth Congressional District meets all of these criteria.

I have had the honor to serve as the chief of staff for (then) Massachusetts US Representative Ed Markey and as Secretary of Housing and Economic Development in Governor Deval Patrick’s cabinet. Those experiences with the process of government at the federal and state levels have led me to conclude that Jake Auchincloss is well suited to represent the citizens of Massachusetts and our nation in the United States Congress.


Jake is a thoughtful and disciplined leader with skills honed as an officer in the United States Marine Corps and as a member of the Newton City Council. He has the courage of his convictions, the strength to lead on climate change, public transit and alternative means of transportation, and the role of bio-manufacturing in retooling the economy and creating jobs in Fall River, Taunton, and South Coast communities less affluent than the northern tier of the Fourth Congressional District. He is a strong and unwavering advocate for pro-choice policies and social justice initiatives. He is collegial and committed. He will develop coalitions with fellow veterans in public office and reach across the aisle to make government responsive to the needs of the people it serves.

Jake will lead on day one in the Congress. The editorial board has shown sound judgment by endorsing the best candidate in a talented field.

Dan O’Connell

West Tisbury

A departure from the Fourth’s liberal Democratic history

Jake Auchincloss is running as a Democrat for Congress in the Fourth District; but as the Globe reported elsewhere, he has been a Republican as recently as 2014, when he was a paid operative for the GOP. He claims to be “an early proponent” of impeaching Donald Trump; yet in 2017, when the matter came before him on the Newton City Council, Auchincloss refused to take a position.

The district has elected three liberal Democrats to Congress: Joseph P. Kennedy III, Barney Frank, and the Rev. Robert F. Drinan. I’ve worked professionally for Frank and Drinan, and I live in Newton. There are several good choices in the race; Auchincloss is not one of them.

Daniel B. Payne


The writer is a former Democratic media consultant.

His reach extends to the whole district

The editorial board endorsed Jake Auchincloss for all the right reasons. Jake has distinguished himself from the crowded field of candidates due to his former military service, his experience in local government, and more.

I have my own reasons for supporting Jake Auchincloss. He has paid attention to the needs of the entire district, not just Newton and Brookline (from where almost all of the candidates hail). He demonstrates a deep interest in and support for families like mine who live in the southern part of the district. Joe Kennedy visited our town on a regular basis, and I know Jake would also make it a priority to maintain a presence here and advocate for all of his constituents.

I recently reached out to Jake and asked him to learn more about the many challenges facing families with children who need mental health care, and he followed up immediately by contacting a parent I directed him to and listening to her personal story. He demonstrates with his actions his genuine desire to help people, andwhen he makes a promise he keeps it.

Valerie Frank

North Eaton