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Senate Endorsement: Alan Khazei

For those of us living in Massachusetts, tomorrow is the day of the primary to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy. We've had a fascinating campaign season this fall, mostly because of the odd schedule forced upon the voters by the law that requires a special election within a certain timeframe. Even now, reports are that most Massachusetts voters are either unaware of the election or have no idea who they intend to vote for.

As a local politician (Library Trustee and Town Meeting Member), I'm sometimes asked for my endorsement in local Brookline races. People don't tend to actively seek out my endorsement for anything higher than Brookline Selectman, because, frankly, my opinion would probably not carry that much weight outside of the town. That said, though, I see no reason why I shouldn't offer my endorsement for the Senate race, so for anyone who is still trying to decide how to vote, here's where I stand.

I endorse, support, and plan to vote for Alan Khazei, the co-founder of City Year, in the race.

Why Khazei? I can't really say it any better than the Boston Globe did when they endorsed him, so rather than reiterate what they said, I offer the link here (Boston Globe: For Democrats – Alan Khazei for Senate) along with some quotes from the endorsement:


The 48-year-old Khazei offers a strong vision for success in the Senate, channeling the energy of activist groups and private-sector policy incubators while dedicating himself to the laborious task of building legislative coalitions.

He offers a time-tested and relevant example of this approach: his two decades of work bringing together politicians of both parties and citizen-activists to develop a national service plan....

Khazei promises to apply the same principles to other issues, believing that building a grass-roots network for change while demonstrating both commitment and a willingness to compromise in pursuit of common ground can break down political barriers. This isn’t just hopeful rhetoric. Khazei speaks admiringly of streetwise education reformers who, having seen challenging conditions in urban classrooms, dreamed up such innovations as charter schools and Teach for America. Along the way, these activists had to elbow their way around established interest groups that tried to squeeze them out of the policy debate. With the support of an energetic and idealistic senator, public policy can flourish.

Extended to issues like health care, the environment, energy, and job training, this entrepreneurial model of progressive politics offers hope for real improvements....

...[H]is energy, idealism, and intelligence - combined with a grounded sense of how the Senate works - is unusual, and gives voters a chance to support a new, home-grown approach to politics. He isn’t trying to line up just enough constituencies to eke out a win; he’s asking voters to sign on to a vision - a less top-down, less programmatic way of improving people’s lives. His emphasis on capturing the energy of private initiatives and translating it into the conventions of the Senate feels rooted in Massachusetts and the Kennedy legacy, but also appropriate to this moment in history.


I've talked with many friends leading up to the primary, and I've discovered that many of us are supporting different candidates in the race. Given the importance of this race, it would be a shame if people let the opportunity to choose our next U.S. senator slip away, as it's likely that the winner of one of the primaries will end up representing Massachusetts for years to come. So for all my Massachusetts friends, I encourage you to take the time to vote tomorrow. Obviously, I hope you'll vote for Khazei, but whether or not you do, I hope you'll vote nevertheless.

As for me, I'll be at my polling place at 7 am tomorrow, casting my vote.

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