Kennedy Endorsed by Key Labor Unions in New Bedford Campaign Stop
NEW BEDFORD — Fresh off officially launching his campaign for U.S. Senate in East Boston, Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D – 4th District) has been touring cities and towns across Massachusetts, including a pit-stop in the Whaling City.
Kennedy, standing at the hurricane barrier overlooking the Clean Energy Center Wind Turbine Terminal on the harbor, announced the endorsements of three Massachusetts labor unions: IBEW Local 103, Teamsters Local 25 and the Massachusetts State Council of Machinists. All three unions cited Kennedy's “strong record of standing up for working families.”
“One of the biggest challenges we are confronting across our country today is that a middle-class job no longer provides for a middle-class lifestyle,” said Kennedy.
“If we’re going to do this right it means ensuring that they have a spot at the table for jobs to enable them and everyone else to take care of their families. I’m thrilled to be here with them and I’m thrilled of the prospects that projects like this and the development an entire industry has for investment in the region, and obviously, making huge steps forward in the need to combat climate change.”
Representatives of the three unions introduced Kennedy, praising him for his support of union labor, particularly to fill the offshore wind industry, in southeastern Massachusetts.
“We’re always happy when we get to bring actually bring a voice out to the workers of our community. It’s important that all workers in southeastern Massachusetts have living wage jobs with union benefits. So, we’re excited, Joe, to have you coming out here to talk just about that,” said President of the Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council Lisa Lameau as she introduced the Congressman.
“We’re completely on board here with developing work in our waters.”
In a statement, the Teamsters Local 25 said Kennedy has been a “strong advocate for workers’ rights and protections” since he was first elected to Congress.
“Teamsters and all Massachusetts working men and women deserve and need a Senator who will put their interest first, protecting fair wages and benefits and provide emerging industries with a workforce for the future. Teamsters Local 25 strongly supports Joe Kennedy and is proud to endorse him for U.S. Senate,” the statement read.
Kennedy also focused his speech on reducing climate change, particularly through the means of offshore wind; using union labor to fill the offshore wind industry’s workforce, and continuing the push to remove President Donald Trump from the White House.
“I’m extremely excited and have been working very hard for the past seven years along with other members of our delegation on and folks down in Washington to try to harness the promise that this region has for offshore wind. Recent developments in the Vineyard Wind project, which would be enough clean energy for 400,000 homes, and the obstacles that this administration has put up are inexcusable and we will keep fighting it to make sure this becomes a reality as quickly as we possibly can,” Kennedy said.
“Yes we need that clean energy, but if we’re going to do this right, it has to come with jobs that actually allow people to care for their families and power this region. That’s why I think it’s so critically important as we contemplate the power of an entirely new industry that could power a region in New England and up and down the eastern seaboard for years to come.”
Kennedy has also been promoting his work on economic justice during his seven-year tenure in Washington. He’s been an advocate for American manufacturing, vocational education, fair wages, corporate accountability and collective bargaining.
In Massachusetts, Kennedy has publicly supported striking workers at National Grid and Stop & Shop, hotel staff in the Seaport and Martha’s Vineyard bus drivers.
"Massachusetts and our nation need a champion for workers in the U.S. Senate who will be there for years, even decades, to come. The time for a new wave and new generation of leadership in Washington D.C. is right now -- not next year, not six years down the road, but now,” said a statement issued by IBEW Local 103 following the campaign event.
“IBEW Local 103 members believe that the candidacy of Joe Kennedy III represents a unique, generational opportunity to give Massachusetts working families and labor unions a strong voice in the U.S. Senate for the long-term. The next generation deserves to have a Kennedy fighting for labor unions and working people at the highest levels of government for years to come. This has made a tremendous difference for prior generations -- and the next generation deserves the same."
When asked by WBSM News if he plans to work with New Bedford’s famously lucrative fishing industry during the rollout of offshore wind, the Congressman said “this has to be done in collaboration.”
“We’re standing at the base of the most valuable port in the entire country when it comes to fishing. I grew up fishing, when I get some free time – which isn’t very much anymore – I still love to fish. I worked for years in the court in Barnstable, Massachusetts, where hanging from the ceiling of the Superior Court is a codfish. Hanging from the Massachusetts General Court in our Statehouse is a codfish. They call it Cape Cod for a reason,” Kennedy stated.
“Fishing is in our blood, it’s in our bones, and it is our history. We have to get this right, and that means making sure that we have all the pieces at the table to make sure we do this right.”
Kennedy also took the time to criticize President Trump, saying that Trump has “created a reckoning for our country.” However, the Congressman also shared a different strategy to ousting the President than the more liberal faction of the Democratic Party may share.
“If you look around our country I’m not sure there’s been a more urgent time to make the case that we need a change than now. There’s kids being kept in cages, a middle –class job no longer provides for a middle class life. Donald Trump has created a reckoning for our country, no question,” began Kennedy.
“But, the fact is that if you just take on Donald Trump you miss the fact that 63 million Americans thought that he was the right answer. There’s a broken system there that forced them to think he was the right answer and we’ve got to take that system on.”
Kennedy had also planned for a stop in Fall River on Sunday. He plans to continue his tour across the Bay State as the campaign season heats up.