Kennedy Town Hall Report

Joe Kennedy III at Town Hall April 5, 2017
Joe Kennedy III at Town Hall April 5, 2017. Photo: The Heights

Recent town halls across the country have been very well attended since the November election and Representative Kennedy found out last Sunday that his constituents care a lot about foreign policy. The average citizen may not talk about foreign policy at the dinner table, but in the Fourth Congressional district it seems they do. Here at Mass Peace Action, global stability and peace is at the core of our mission and we bring up these issues to our elected officials through many channels.

Last Sunday in Newton it seems our work paid off as foreign policy reigned supreme. Our members stepped up and voiced their concerns, focusing on militarism around the world, but also the future of healthcare and budget priorities. The national Peace Action office sent reminders about Kennedy’s Town Hall, along with talking points and signs. In addition, Our Revolution and Progressive Democrats of America had encouraged their members to attend. Some early-birds arrived an hour before the doors opened to sign for particular questions.

A constituent from Medway asked about Resolution 11 and settlements in Palestine, commencing more than an hour of insightful questions. Kennedy said he voted yes on Resolution 11 because he didn’t “want to back Israel into a corner.” Then came Eileen Kurkoski from West Newton, asking how Kennedy planned to prevent chronic wars, and if he agreed that investing in negotiations would be more productive? This question prompted a moving personal anecdote from his time in the Peace Corps and he agreed that this was the way to change people’s minds.

Susan Mirsky of Newton Highlands asked if he would vote for the People’s Budget this year and how would he support the control of nuclear weapons. He responded that the tax increases were too high in the People’s Budget, but he would look at it again this year. He said nuclear weapons are awful but he senses danger in Pakistan, N. Korea and Russia from their nuclear weapons. Aside from foreign policy, there were excellent questions about concealed gun laws, ACA, single payer, and emoluments. The crowning question came near the end when Marie from Brookline asked for his thoughts on expanding wars in the Middle East. He said that Syria and Yemen did not attack us, praising Special Ops and giving credit to Jim McGovern for leading the charge on new AUMFs. Kennedy thinks Congress need to debate these.

When asked about Russia’s involvement in the election, he admitted his inability to divulge some information, due to the ongoing investigation. Kennedy demonstrated some awareness of these topics, and though his answers were not what we’d like to hear, he is willing to listen to our concerns and respond to them.  Congratulations to our members for a job well done.