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2 minutes reading time (397 words)

Leadership in the time of Covid-19

This letter is from Chris DiMeo of 124 Park Ave.


When I consider the kind of leadership I want in Washington, there are many boxes to be checked.

Leadership should be grounded in knowledge and integrity and informed by data. It should be infused with genuine compassion and a call to public service. Leaders should fight hard for their constituents, especially those who are the most vulnerable, silenced and marginalized.

They need to connect with people in a multitude of ways, especially when it is difficult, especially when people are scared. Leadership needs to anticipate challenges, respond quickly, and develop solutions that are both philosophically and practically meaningful.

It’s a tall order. I’m not easily impressed. Enter: Joe Kennedy, who announced March 13 that he was suspending Senate campaign activities for one week to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.
In a matter of days, Kennedy canceled all events and scheduled virtual town halls, closed brick-and-mortar campaign offices and established a virtual one and provided live virtual updates (in English and Spanish) to keep people connected to each other and informed.

For years, I’ve seen his leadership rise to the occasion, from his “act of malice” comments that went viral when he fought to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to his call to action in his response to the 2018 State of the Union, to his fight for climate justice, his advocacy for social and racial justice in all forms, and his fierce protection of American workers and a fair economy. And the endorsement of Congressman Kennedy by Rep. John Lewis, dean of the Civil Rights movement says volumes.

In the last week, Kennedy has checked all the boxes of superb leadership. He reacted quickly and proactively, partnering with fellow House members Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) to demand, and secure, federal coverage of all corona-related health-care costs for the uninsured and underinsured. Arlington folks will not only have a safety net for coverage of corona-related costs; they will also benefit from Joe’s legislation, if adopted, providing emergency economic assistance that guarantees $4,000 in direct cash payments to adults earning less than $100,000 per year, and $2,000 for more than $100,000.

Joe Kennedy’s leadership has filled a void left by an ignorant and dangerous president. Voters should consider this exemplary leadership in the upcoming Senate election in Massachusetts.

This letter was published Thursday, March 19.

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