Pressley steers clear of Kennedy-Markey questions
Downplays endorsements, says what voters think is key
CONGRESSWOMAN AYANNA PRESSLEY shook up Massachusetts politics last year, but she isn’t weighing in on the potential juggernaut showdown between Congressman Joe Kennedy III and US Sen. Ed Markey.
“As for my good colleagues, Congressman Kennedy and Senator Markey – I enjoy a productive and good relationship with the both of them,” Pressley told reporters in Boston Monday night. “I am awaiting developments like everyone else, and just focused on governing and being in community, and being in the district.”
The hesitant approach Pressley has taken so far towards Kennedy’s potential challenge of a fellow Democrat stands in contrast with her bold decision last year to take on Michael Capuano, a Democrat and the longtime congressman for a district that runs through the heart of Boston.
Pressley batted away follow-up questions about whether she would endorse and whether she herself might mount a future campaign for Senate, insisting she is focused on governing. Pressley even minimized the decisions of politicians like her about whether and whom to endorse.
The congresswoman was similarly discreet when asked about the large field of Democrats vying to take on President Donald Trump – a man who Pressley refers to as the “current occupant of the White House” rather than by his title.
“I like anybody on that stage over the current occupant of this White House,” said Pressley, touting her co-sponsorship of bills backed by multiple senators seeking the presidency, incuding Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker.
The congresswoman spoke to reporters after an event at Boston English High School, where she convened housing experts to talk to constituents about the lack of affordable, quality housing in the Boston area and what to do about it.
The Dorchester Democrat shared her experiences of living in rental housing near Boston University – where her Brighton building, she says, was dubbed “Vermin Vista” – and sought feedback about policy ideas such as standardizing community benefit agreements to give developers some certainty about what would be expected of them.
Looking ahead to Congress potentially taking up an infrastructure package – an idea that in broad strokes has bipartisan support – Pressley said she wants federally-financed infrastructure to include housing.
Pressley told attendees she supports a program championed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to connect elderly residents who have spare bedrooms and young people who would be happy to do some household chores in exchange for an affordable room to rent.Donald Madry, a 75-year-old Jamaica Plain resident who was born and grew up in Roxbury, asked Pressley whether she would make housing a major political issue. “I certainly do hope 2020 candidates will make this a top issue,” she replied. “It certainly has to be more than a talking point. Those debate stages are real challenging.”
In a brief interview, Madry said he wanted candidates up and down the ballot to make housing a political issue so many people who grew up in neighborhoods like Roxbury can no longer afford to live there.