NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 8, 2014

Democratic breakfast attracts more than 20 candidates


Newburyport Daily News

---- — NEWBURYPORT — More than 20 Democrats running for state and federal offices appealed for support before a sold-out crowd of party activists from five Essex County communities at the ninth annual Democratic 3T and 2C Breakfast on Saturday.

The annual event brings together Democrats from the two cities of Newburyport and Amesbury and the three towns of Newbury, Salisbury and West Newbury. It was held at Nicholson Hall on Harris Street.

John Walsh, who recently stepped down as chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said the full roster of candidates showed the party has a “surplus of talent” — in contrast, he said, to the state’s Republican Party.

However, Walsh warned, Democrats still have a lot of work to do to retain their party’s dominance in the state because groups from outside the state are funding tea party candidates to oppose Democrats in local elections.

In a press release, Walsh said Massachusetts has become a leader in education, access to health care, veterans’ services, clean energy and job growth under Democratic leadership.

He said Democrats dug the state out of the Big Dig “financing mess” left by the Romney administration and Charlie Baker, who is running for governor again as a Republican.

The state has also seen its population grow at the fastest rate in 50 years, following years of population decline under Republicans, he said.

Walsh’s successor as chief of the state party organization, state Sen. Tom McGee of Lynn, said polls show Americans agree with Democrats on most major issues.

However, even though “Democrats have a proven track record” of leadership, they will need a big voter turnout in the upcoming elections, according to McGee. He said turnout among Democrats often suffers in off-year elections without a presidential race.

“If Democrats get the turnout, we will win because we have the best candidates and ideas,” he said.

Among the issues the candidates addressed were minimum wage, equal pay for women, mental health parity, the opioid epidemic, job training, job growth, strengthening the middle class, education, college funding, local aid, prison reform, veterans benefits, campaign finance reform, anti-poverty efforts, expanded Internet access, clean energy and the Seabrook nuclear plant.

The candidates speaking included two for U.S. representative for the 6th District, which encompasses 18 communities from Rockport to Amesbury. Current U.S. Rep. John Tierney spoke, as did his primary opponent, Seth Moulton, an Iraq war veteran who lives in Salem.

Two incumbents without primary opposition — Secretary of State William Galvin and State Auditor Suzanne Bump — also spoke, as did state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives.

State Rep. Michael Costello, who recently announced he would not seek re-election and was honored at the breakfast, was there along with Amesbury City Councilor Bob Lavoie and Newburyport City Councilor Ed Cameron, both of whom are running for the seat vacated by Costello. Cameron, as in years past, also served as emcee for the event.

Among the other candidates in attendance were five for governor: Joseph Avellone, Donald Berwick, Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman and Juliette Kayyem.

Four men vying for lieutenant governor were on hand: Leland Chung, Steven Kerrigan, Mike Lake and James Arena-DeRosa.

Others attending were two candidates for attorney general, Maura Healey and Warren Tolman, and three running for state treasurer, Deb Goldberg, Barry Finegold and Tom Conroy. Ellen Duff, who is running for re-election to a seat on the Governor’s Council, also spoke.

During the event, the Salisbury Democratic Town Committee awarded a $500 scholarship to Triton High student Jessica Beal, who plans on attending Dean College in the fall to study dance.