Joe Kennedy

US Congressman Joe Kennedy III at a rally in downtown Beverly on Sunday.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III greeted a vibrant crowd of supporters outside the First Parish Church in Beverly.  Attendees of the event remained masked even as temperatures neared 100 degrees on Sunday.  

Kennedy, who is currently serving his fourth term as a U.S. Representative for the state of Massachusetts, is running against incumbent Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey in September.   

After meeting with Montserrat College of Art President Kurt Steinberg, Kennedy emerged from the Beverly National Bank to elbow-bump his supporters, who stood along Cabot Street with signs and banners.  

He took time to converse with individuals and families and spoke in Spanish with several Spanish-speaking supporters.  Kennedy made his way through a line of teenagers, taking a photo with each one, and listened to stories shared by older citizens of the North Shore.  

To explain the platform upon which he is running for senate, Kennedy stepped onto a small stone platform in Ellis Square.  

“I got in this race because I know that our best days are in front of us.  I know that we can be better than we are,” he said.  

Kennedy’s campaign against 74-year-old Sen. Markey has stirred controversy in the political arena.  Markey, who has been a Massachusetts senator since 2013, introduced the Green New Deal with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019.  Kennedy announced his support for the Green New Deal in 2018.  

Rep. Kennedy and Sen. Markey share many of the same ideas regarding policy, but Kennedy claims he will take a more actionable approach to some of the country’s largest issues.  

“I know that in order to achieve that change, we’re not going to be able to do it without making some folks uncomfortable; without taking on some big, big challenges that have plagued this country for an awful long time,” he said.  

Kennedy cited familiar predicaments that he has seen on the campaign trail in recent months, an accessible list of issues that elicits adamant head-nodding from the crowd.  

“You talk to teachers and childcare providers that are doing everything they can to make sure that they can educate the next generation,” he said.  “You talk to students that have gone through an enormous challenge over the course of the past several months that are still ambitious and bold about their future.”  

Kennedy also stressed the importance of voting by mail and taking advantage of the extended voter registration deadline for this year’s election.  

Before the event, Kennedy met with a group of small business owners at Gusto Café to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on locally owned establishments.  The discussion centered around changes in budget and infrastructure that would prevent these issues if a similar situation occurred in the future.  

“You run around this state over the past couple of months, and you hear from small business owners that are somehow pulling everything together and somehow able to make ends meet,” he said.  

Kennedy listened to business owners’ experiences and maintained a responsive dialogue with them, discussing ways to provide a buffer in budgets for future crises.  

When asked what he would like to say to the youth of Massachusetts, Kennedy emphasized the impact of the youth vote in the United States.  

“This is your country, this is your world, and this is your election.  You will decide it because you vote, or you’ll decide it because you don’t,” he said.  

Kennedy highlighted the momentous concerns of this year’s election.  

“The big challenges that we confront, from student loans to our climate, to an economy that actually works for everybody, to a government that recognizes the dignity of every single person in our country and on this planet... all of that is at stake, so do not cede that to somebody else,” Kennedy said.  

He urged the youth to vote for the matters that most concern the future of the United States.  

“Get out, get involved, and vote.  We need you.  Your country needs you.  Go out there and seize it,” Kennedy said.

Olivia Turner, named a GrubStreet Young Adult Writers Program Teen Fellow in 2017, is a rising senior at Manchester Essex Regional High School, where she is Editor-in-Chief of its newspaper, The Independent.  She has also helped to publish the first print edition of the school’s literary magazine, The Inkling.