City Councilor Michelle Wu has picked up another big-name endorsement in her campaign for mayor — Senator Edward J. Markey, who shares Wu’s vision for combating climate change with his own federal Green New Deal.
Wu’s team announced Markey’s support for her campaign Wednesday morning, an endorsement that brings her a third member of Boston’s congressional delegation to back her candidacy. Last week, Wu unveiled a coveted endorsement from Representative Ayanna Pressley, a leader in Boston’s Black and brown communities who served several years with Wu on the City Council. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was Wu’s law professor at Harvard, endorsed her campaign in January, giving Wu an unprecedented level of support from Boston’s federal delegation in an open race for mayor.
The Markey endorsement is also a direct blow to Essaibi George, who had been one of the only city officials to endorse Markey in his brutal re-election fight last year against former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, a point that Essaibi George had noted during the competitive preliminary election. Wu, by contrast, did not endorse in the Markey-Kennedy primary battle.
Yet Wu and Markey have both made climate one of their signature political issues over their careers, and also have drawn support from many of the same Boston-based progressive activists. Essaibi George, on the other hand, is seen as the more moderate mayoral candidate.
Wu and Markey said in a prepared release that they share a common commitment to equity and on climate issues, including on Markey’s Green New Deal. Wu called the plan a framework to confront the “intersecting crises” of climate change, the pandemic, racial injustice and economic inequality that she is seeking to address with her proposed city-level Green New Deal, the first such proposal for a major American city.
“As mayoral candidate and as Boston city councilor, Michelle Wu has championed the Green New Deal and made transformational action on climate change central to her commitment to the city of Boston,” Markey said in a prepared statement. He said that her proposals to expand access to free public transportation, decarbonize the economy through new restrictions on development, and invest in clean air and water “will put Boston on a path to implement the systemic changes we need to provide our children, workers, and families a just and livable future.”
Wu welcomed the endorsement, saying in the statement that the senator’s “bold vision has inspired activists, young people, and so many community members to lead.
“Throughout his career, he has been a steadfast advocate for working families, environmental justice and a more equitable city, state and nation,” she said. “I am excited to continue to organize together, build together and fight together for our brightest future.”
The endorsement gives Wu another high-profile vote of support from one of the state’s most politically progressive policymakers, and it adds to the list of community leaders who have embraced Wu over her opponent, Essaibi George, after they had stayed out of the preliminary election.
After the endorsement was announced this morning, Essaibi George released a statement that took a bit of a swipe at her opponent’s focus on endorsements, of which she has rolled out many this week, and her big-picture climate plans.
“We know that so many of the issues we talk about in this city are intersectional. But while Councilor Wu and her team were setting up and rolling out this endorsement, I was in Roxbury, surrounded by our strong, diverse coalition of supporters, announcing my equity plan. What I heard . . . was that residents don’t worry about decarbonizing businesses, they worry about putting food on the table and being able to afford a place to live. They don’t want a climate plan to stand in for an equity plan. They want — and deserve —an equity plan.”
Markey’s campaign last year was supported heavily by younger voters and activists — the “Markeyverse,” as they were called in social media circles — what could be a key bloc in the scramble for undecided voters ahead of the Nov. 2 general election.