Kennedy to get back in public eye next week

Worcester visit planned amid Markey challenge speculation

CONGRESSMAN JOE KENNEDY III, who has turned the Massachusetts political world upside down merely by considering a run for the seat held by Sen. Ed Markey, will make an appearance in Worcester on Wednesday and may hold another public event earlier in the week.

The Newton Democrat’s visit to the second largest city in Massachusetts is not a political event, but it could provide the public the first look at Kennedy since the news broke that he was considering a run. Kennedy has maintained a low-profile since the New York Times reported last weekend that he is considering a Senate campaign, and done nothing to tamp down rumors.

Kennedy will visit Worcester Technical High School in his official capacity as co-chairman of the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council, a role he shares with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, a Republican, and Jeffrey Leiden, the president and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Kennedy regularly attends the education-focused meetings around the state, but Wednesday’s visit is sure to get some extra attention.

Tim Murray, the former Worcester mayor who was lieutenant governor under Gov. Deval Patrick and is now president of the apolitical Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be at the event, which he said would be an important way to connect the congressman with industry’s workforce needs.

“We’re always happy to speak with legislators about the issues around manufacturing,” Murray said in a phone interview Friday after this article was first published. “Clearly we need to be doing more STEM” – using the acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math education.

According to his congressional office, Kennedy may also have an event on Tuesday in his district, which stretches from the inner suburbs to Fall River.

Jamie Hoag, a former Patrick administration official who has publicly urged Kennedy to jump into the race but has not coordinated with the candidate, said he hadn’t heard about the Worcester event but he is glad to hear that Kennedy is getting out around the state.

“I’m glad that he’s crisscrossing the state,” Hoag said in a phone interview. “I’m a fan of his and I know that anybody who hears from him will be as impressed with him as I am.”

Word that Kennedy might take on Markey ignited a brushfire of political ambition throughout the district that was held by Barney Frank through 2012, when Kennedy won the open seat. The Boston Globe documented a slew of potential up-and-comers eyeing the House seat on both sides of the aisle Tuesday, though it’s possible one or more may have throttled back their aspirations since then.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

Markey, a Washington stalwart elected to the House in 1976 and the Senate in 2013, has so far declined to criticize Kennedy, the scion of the Bay State’s greatest political dynasty of the 20th century, and has touted the endorsement he received from Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Markey and Kennedy are not in lockstep ideologically, but both have endorsed Warren’s presidential run. Markey is already facing two other Democratic primary challengers – Shannon Liss-Riordan, a successful labor attorney, and Steve Pemberton, a successful businessman.

Next week’s events may be both the first and some of the last public appearances by the congressman before he makes up his mind about whether to run. Politico, which earlier reported a poll testing the waters for the race, cited a Kennedy source as saying he intends to make a decision in the next few weeks.