Courtesy Hugh Dunn

THIS GUEST OPINION PIECE BY: Hugh Dunn is the City Councilor for New Bedford's Ward 3.

 

 

 

 

Congressman Joseph Kennedy III stated in a recent debate, "We have a choice to make because so many families are hurting and the last several months have been brutal. We have a chance to actually go big, to make sure that out of this wreckage comes a reckoning."

I couldn't agree more; the nation will experience a reckoning and communities like New Bedford will feel this crisis much deeper and longer than other communities. However, we are not helpless, and we have the responsibility to ensure that we are prepared for what is to come.

Now, more than ever, it is critical that we have a relentless fighter representing us, leading the way forward in the Senate. Elections matter. Joe is this leader for this moment.

We are seeing the impact of COVID-19 on our municipal budget, with Fire Engine 8's proposed closure and other severe citywide cuts. Cities across the Commonwealth are desperately trying to maintain city services and balance budgets despite unprecedented revenue shortfalls. There is no simple solution, but there is an immediate need for a state and municipal federal bailout. Congressman Bill Keating, Joe Kennedy and our House delegation fought and passed the HEROES Act to provide this needed funding; meanwhile, efforts in the Senate have not been as fruitful. I am confident that Joe Kennedy will provide the hands-on leadership in the U.S. Senate to help our communities weather this storm.

There can be no substitute for leadership that listens to our community and delivers needed aid and solutions. Kennedy has been a continuous presence on the SouthCoast. In 2015, he challenged the region to take on a revolutionary view of economic development encouraging partnership around shared assets, ultimately leading to our region's focus on driving innovation to promote the sustainable development of our blue economy.

He has supported the growth of offshore wind, while not losing focus on supporting our commercial fishing industry. He was a consistent partner with Congressman Keating in these efforts. As an economic development professional, and a city official, I can confirm that Joe has promoted renewable energy, major tenets of the Green New Deal, while not leaving behind our fishermen and traditional industry bases.

Just last week in Fall River, textile manufacturer Charlie Merrow endorsed Joe, while announcing the creation of nearly 200 new jobs. Charlie is on the frontline producing PPE, and creating jobs – his endorsement speaks volumes of Joe's leadership. Joe is governing with a comprehensive understanding of our community’s needs and aspirations.

Make no mistake about it, we are going to experience severe turbulence going forward. In this pandemic, with social distancing and quarantine, cries for justice, and a faltering economy, we cannot leave behind the vulnerable, be it due to underlying health issues, food insecurity, homelessness, or having a job that puts them on the front lines of this crisis. We need strong leaders now more than ever. Our actions now will set the course for years to come.

We have amazing and unique potential in New Bedford, but our city and future does not have the luxury of other more established metros. Everything we’ve built is on the line. We need strong leadership at the helm; in this moment, we need Joe Kennedy as the Senator from Massachusetts.

My ask to you is to vote for Joe on September 1s, vote early, by mail, or in person, and visit kennedyforma.com/vote for more information.

Editor's Note: 'SouthCoast Voices' is a series of guest blogs from newsmakers across the region, on relevant issues that directly impact the people of Greater New Bedford and the surrounding communities. The opinions are solely those of the author. If you are interested in contributing, please contact tim@wbsm.com for more information. 

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