JPP Endorses Berwick, Healey, Arena-DeRosa

We are proud to announce today our endorsements in three statewide races. We are supporting Don Berwick for Governor, Maura Healey for Attorney General, and James Arena-DeRosa for Lieutenant Governor. We hope that the Jamaica Plain community will join us in supporting them.

The progressive values we seek to advance are urgent and they need bold advocates at the highest levels of state government. There are real differences — even among the Democratic candidates — in policy positions, leadership and experience. The Democratic Primary in September — and to a lesser extent the Democratic Party convention in June — give voters and activists a chance to show the breadth and depth of support for truly progressive leadership.

To engage the community in these choices, JPP held a series or forums this winter and spring, bringing every Democratic candidate for competitive statewide office before an audience at Doyles to answer questions about their positions and experience. You can see the videos HERE.

Forum attendees, along with activists affiliated with JPP, weighed in with impassioned and often eloquent opinions (some of which we have quoted below). Although there are supporters of all the candidates among them, these three endorsed candidates clearly had the strongest support.  The JPP Steering Committee took an official vote on endorsements last week.

We endorse Don Berwick for Governor because he has shown the most clear and consistent commitment to progressive values of any candidate in the race. We are particularly impressed with his deep knowledge of health and health care and his commitment to truly universal, single payer health care. Of all the candidates, Don is the most clear in his commitment to funding the services that support our community — from affordable housing to public education — and the most fearless in speaking the truth that those investments will require additional tax dollars. We think Don will be a smart, compassionate, and bold Governor. His clear and passionate articulation of progressive values makes him a strong candidate in the Primary and against Charlie Baker in November.  One activist summed it up well: “He’s committed to equality and fights for social justice on all fronts — in our health care system, state penitentiaries and criminal justice system, women’s rights and sexual health rights, socioeconomically and in the work place.”

The race for Attorney General features two good progressives with long track records of action on issues important to our community. We choose to endorse Maura Healey. Many of those who talked to us about this race were particularly impressed with her experience in the Attorney General’s Office handling cases on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth, from challenging the Defense of Marriage Act to racial discrimination cases brought against predatory lenders. We agree with one activist who wrote “I have been impressed by the depth of her grasp on issues which are important to the state.” We are appreciative that Maura opposes casinos and supports allowing the voters of Massachusetts a chance to weigh in directly on the issue. One other factor has importance in our endorsement of Maura. We are first and foremost concerned with having real progressive leadership in the state, but we also want that leadership to reflect our community. We are keenly aware that women, people of color, and LGBT individuals are under-represented in our state’s elected leadership. With Maura, we can support a progressive leader, advance our goals of gender equality and help elect the first openly gay Attorney General in the country.

James Arena-DeRosa stood out to us because of his experience in social and economic justice programs in federal government. One activist wrote “His strong support of local food policy as Regional Director of Food and Nutrition Service will put progressive food issues on the map.” We think his leadership and management skills will be valuable in the Lieutenant Governor’s office and should he ever have to take over for the Governor. We have been particularly impressed with his ability and commitment to bring progressive ideas into management of government programs. We know that he will be a strong advocate for progressive policy, and will be an asset to any Democratic Governor.

We heard from all the candidates for Treasurer at our forums, but no candidate has gained the support necessary for JPP endorsement at this time.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be engaging activists around the campaigns of these endorsed candidates.