Tufts Democrats, Carl Sciortino endorse Markey in Senate race
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 01:02
The Tufts Democrats recently announced its endorsement of Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who is running in a special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat of former Senator John Kerry, the new Secretary of State.
Tufts alumnus Carl Sciortino (LA ‘00), the state representative for the 34th Middlesex District encompassing Medford and Somerville, declared on Feb. 8 his candidacy for Markey’s current position with the Fifth Congressional District.
At their weekly meeting on Feb. 5, Tufts Democrats reviewed the viewpoints of Markey and Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), the two Democrats who have formally announced their candidacy to be the democratic representative on the ticket, according to Bronwen Raff, president of Tufts Democrats. The group members then voted to endorse Markey.
Raff, a senior, said she and the organization’s members are currently working to gather signatures and support for Markey’s primary campaign.
“Our first deadline is Feb. 28 when all 10,000 signatures need to be certified so we’re trying to help in the process of collecting about 20,000 signatures,” she said.
According to Raff, one of the primary goals of the Tufts Democrats will be to get students out to vote.
“We understand that many students aren’t going to be here in June [for the general election],” Raff said. “What we need to do beyond that is to put together a protocol for how we want to do absentee voting.”
Raff plans for the organization to be active around campus in the coming months, as its members hope to increase awareness of the special election.
“We’ll be tabling in the dining halls [and] we’ll be working with Tufts Votes and the Institute for Political Citizenship,” she said. “The biggest problem is that people don’t know that the election is happening and so we’re sort of trying to just use social media to make sure people are aware of what’s going on and to educate them.”
Should Markey be elected to the U.S. Senate in late June, he would resign from the U.S. House of Representatives, requiring Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to call a special election in the fifth congressional district in which he currently serves.
Although Markey’s seat would not be open if he loses in the Senate race, Sciortino said that he wanted to get his campaign started early so that he would have more time to build up support.
“We need to get started now in order to be able to spend time introducing myself to other parts of the district and building up a network of support so that we can hit the ground running,” Sciortino told the Daily.
According to Sciortino, he, like Markey, is progressive in his views and looks forward to serving the people in the fifth congressional district.
“I have always been a clear champion of progressive values, whether it is fighting for economic justice, working to increase the minimum wage, closing corporate tax loopholes [and] fighting to improve our environment or equality for [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] (LGBT) individuals and all residents of the Commonwealth,” he said. “These are values that I have been fighting for in the state legislature and that I would continue to work on in Washington.”
Sciortino is one of seven openly gay legislators in Massachusetts. According to Sciortino, he has extensive experience fighting for equality and would be active in the LGBT caucus if elected to Congress.
“Historically there have never been more than two or three [LGBT members of Congress] and there was good ground made this year, but we still have a long way to go,” he said.
According to Max Tanguay-Colucci, president of Tufts’ Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), Sciortino has been a great champion of gay rights and has been successful in progressive politics.
“One of his most remarkable accomplishments for the LGBT community [was] the implementation of the transgender rights bill last year which protects transgender people against discrimination in housing, employment, credit, and education,” Tanguay-Colucci, a sophomore, told the Daily in an email.
While he is currently planning his own campaign, Sciortino said his primary goal is to get Markey elected to the Senate.
“I’ve offered to do whatever I can to help galvanize Tufts students and people around the fifth congressional [district] to work on the Markey campaign,” he said. “As I build up my campaign and get supporters interested in working with me eventually, I’m encouraging them to work on Markey’s race right now.”
According to Sciortino, he will be operating as a surrogate for the Markey campaign and has already attended several community events. He has also collected signatures for Markey with the Tufts Democrats, and they are supportive of his campaign.