Episode 143: A 4th to be Reckoned With

36 minutes

8/6/20-- It’s another week back in the virtual bunker for Jennifer, Stephanie, and Steve, and unfortunately this week Massachusetts reported an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, new cases rose by 438, which is the highest one-day increase since June 6.

This comes as schools continue to strategize their reopening plans, and some release them. Somerville Public Schools, for example, has announced its school year will begin with all-remote learning.

In Senate news, a Louisiana-based firm released a poll last week measuring support in the Ed Markey and Joe Kennedy III matchup. The data showed 44% of likely Democratic primary voters for Markey, 41% for Kennedy, and 16% undecided. This is a shift, as polling done early on showed Kennedy with a sizable lead. Steve says the margin between them plus the rate undecided voters means this is still anybody’s race.

The data show that Markey leads among voters under the age of 55, while Kennedy has more support from older voters. Among voters with at least a college degree, Markey leads, while Kennedy is supported by more voters with some or no college.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that this poll was light on non-college voters. 69% of those polled had at least a college degree. If that rate were lower, Markey’s lead might be as wide or even exist.

When it comes to results, Steve says, the turnout demographics are going to be key. “If turnout is very high among people with high levels of education and among younger people, that benefits Markey and vice versa would benefit Kennedy.”

In the crowded Massachusetts 4th congressional race to fill Congressman Kennedy’s empty seat, Ben Sigel decided to run because, he says, he was “sick and tired of seeing the divisions in our country.”

He was the seventh of nine candidates to enter the race and did so because he said none of the other candidates talked about coming together to solve big issues.

“We need to get back to the times of the Orrin Hatch, John McCain and Kennedy days where people knew that 80% on policy they disagreed with, but on the 20% that they agreed with, that’s what they worked on to make real change.”

He says one of the first things he wants to do upon entering congress is pass paid family and medical leave legislation, which, he says is a bipartisan issue.

Given the recent bumps in positive COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, Sigel calls for caution in continuing to reopen the state’s economy. He says decisions should be based on science. “[We] should probably slow things down and see how the next few days go, if we need to reverse the course that we’re at.” He also recommends schools begin the year with all-remote learning.

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