MIT Democrats is excited to announce our endorsements for the 2018 Massachusetts primaries. Below are our recommendations for the major Democratic races for students living on or near MIT’s campus. They were decided by a vote of our core membership—those who have either attended multiple meetings or made significant contributions to at least one major MIT Democrats project.
US House of Representatives, MA-7: Ayanna Pressley
We endorse Ayanna Pressley for Representative for MA-7. While Pressley and Capuano are in close agreement on policy issues, we like that Pressley will likely write and sponsor legislation addressing important social issues like equity for women, poverty alleviation, sexual violence prevention, and racial equality.
We feel that her years of experience as a senior aide and political director for Representative (and then Senator) Joseph Kennedy II and later John Kerry give her a familiarity with the Washington political process that will aid her in her role as Representative. We feel that she has demonstrated her political capabilities well in her position as city councilor. We believe that she will represent MA-7 successfully and prioritize many issues that are important to MIT students, such as affordable housing, immigration reform, and the environment.
Lieutenant Governor: Quentin Palfrey
We endorse Quentin Palfrey for Lieutenant Governor. Palfrey is a dedicated civil servant with years of government service under his belt and a track record of strong leadership on the issues that matter most to progressives in Massachusetts.
Quentin previously served as the Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America here at MIT, an organization dedicated to enhancing the use of evidence-based decision-making in tackling poverty and inequality in the United States. He also served in the Obama Administration in the Office of Science & Technology Policy and the Department of Commerce. He has shown a strong commitment to tackling big issues like systemic inequality, criminal justice reform, health care, education, and voter protection. His ambitious progressive vision, understanding of the importance of data and evidence, and practical experience serving the public make him the most qualified candidate in this race.
Middlesex County DA: Donna Patalano
We endorse Donna Patalano for Middlesex County District Attorney. The criminal justice system unfairly favors the wealthy and privileged, and inequalities persist in how the law is enforced. The district attorney’s office has great power to bring fairness and transparency to law enforcement, and Donna Patalano has demonstrated her commitment to making change. She understands racial disparities in sentencing, the failure of mass incarceration, and how cash bail disproportionately hurts the working class. She has also made a commitment to increase transparency in the District Attorney’s office including through data collection and publication. For her consistent support of criminal justice reform and reducing social and economic injustice in law enforcement, MIT Democrats is proud to support Donna Patalano.
Secretary of State: Josh Zakim
We endorse Josh Zakim for Secretary of State because his platform on voting rights would make it easier for vote in Massachusetts, particularly for students, whose voices are underrepresented in state and local politics. Zakim had supported and fought for automatic voter registration at the state level for years before it passed the state legislature this spring. He also supports election-day voter registration, early voting, weekend election days, absentee voting with no need for a legal excuse, and ranked choice voting. This is in contrast to his opponent, who has defended in court the 20-day registration deadline that makes it difficult for students to organize and vote in Massachusetts elections—particularly in primary elections, where the voter registration deadline falls before students arrive on campus.
Zakim is an attorney and community activist and was elected to the Boston City Council in 2013. He has chaired several city committees, most recently the Committee on Civil Rights. Among many other achievements on the Boston City Council, Zakim authored the Boston Trust Act (a ‘sanctuary city’ bill) and co-sponsored legislation to enable a lite version of automatic voter registration in Boston.