January 8, 2019/Media

Massachusetts Democrats Poised to Take the Lead in 116th Congress

Massachusetts Democrats Poised to Take the Lead in 116th Congress

Gus Bickford, Chair, Massachusetts Democratic Party

Massachusetts Democrats have a long history of leadership in the halls of Congress. From Tip O’Neil to Ted Kennedy, Representatives and Senators from our Commonwealth have been at the forefront of momentous policy achievements, and have provided a steady hand in times of crisis and national discord.

The perilous moment we currently find ourselves in as a nation certainly cries out for leadership, and Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation is once again ready to rise to the challenge.

When a blue wave swept across the nation in November — helping Democrats flip nearly 40 seats and take back control of the House of Representatives — it put Massachusetts’ House members in a position to play an even greater role in directing our national political dialogue and policy agenda. In the 116th Congress, Representative Richie Neal (MA-1) will take over as Chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, which — among other responsibilities — oversees all taxation legislation, Social Security, and Medicare. At the same time, Representative Jim McGovern (MA-2) will assume the Chairmanship of the House Rules Committee, which is the committee primarily tasked with setting the agenda for action on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Reps. Neal and McGovern will be joined by Representative Katherine Clark (MA-5), who was recently elected by her colleagues to serve as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, the number five position in House Democratic leadership. Representative Joe Kennedy (MA-4), who delivered the Democratic response to last year’s State of the Union address, has shown himself to be a leader on issues related to STEM education, mental health, and other priorities. Representative Seth Moulton (MA-6) has been tireless in his advocacy for veterans and has raised millions to support Democratic veterans running for office across the country. Representative Stephen Lynch (MA-8) has sponsored legislation to bring greater transparency to the White House, hold Donald Trump accountable, and address key issues like climate change and the opioid crisis. Representative Bill Keating (MA-9) has emerged as a leading voice on homeland security, and issues impacting seniors, veterans, and students.

Freshman Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) and Lori Trahan (MA-3) are history makers in their own right. Pressley, whose campaign slogan was “Change Can’t Wait,” and who worked for nearly 20 years for U.S. Representative Joseph Kennedy II and U.S. Senator John Kerry before being elected to the Boston City Council, becomes the first woman of color to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives. Trahan, who previously served the people of the 3rd District as Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Marty Meehan, becomes the first woman to succeed another woman in Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation, as she takes over from retiring U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas.

In the Senate, Elizabeth Warren won a resounding victory in her bid for a second term, as Massachusetts voters showed their support for her bold, outspoken advocacy in pursuit of a level playing field for working families — here in the Commonwealth and across the country. Senator Ed Markey continues to fight every day for priorities critical to the people of our state, including preserving net neutrality, taking meaningful action on climate change, and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

As we look ahead to the next two years, it is clear that Donald Trump will not stop in his efforts to advance hateful, discriminatory policies that target women, minorities, and the disenfranchised. That’s why it’s more important than ever that the dedicated Democrats of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation — in both the House and Senate — stand ready to defend the values of fairness, equality, and inclusion. The members of our delegation are uniquely positioned to resist Donald Trump and make progress on priorities like healthcare, education, and transportation, and we look forward to supporting them in these efforts.