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Large Crowd, Passionate Speeches Mark Part One Of Day Two At MA Dem. Convention

Jim Levulis

Massachusetts Democrats are showcasing shirts, towels, posters and bells supporting their candidates for four statewide races at the Massachusetts Democratic State Convention in Worcester this weekend. 

The crowd that streamed into the DCU Center delayed the delegate roll call by about an hour Saturday morning. 

Once the party was able to get a handle on the delegate count, candidates for treasurer, attorney general, lieutenant governor and governor had their final chance to speak to the crowd in hopes of receiving the Massachusetts Democratic Party's endorsement or simply securing a spot on September's primary ballot.

Candidates must get at least 15 percent of the delegates gathered Saturday to be on the ballot.

Video introductions welcomed many of the candidates to the stage featuring songs ranging from Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." to "Better Days" by the Goo Goo Dolls. 

Steve Kerrigan saw the most enthusiast crowd support in the lieutenant governor's race followed closely by those supporting Mike Lake. Leland Cheung and James Arena-DeRosa also rallied their supporters aiming to fill the currently vacant lieutenant governor's seat.

Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman took to the stage as a candidate for governor with pump-up music and supporters donned in blue and orange cheering like a crowd welcoming their hometown  hockey team to the ice. Grossman said as governor he will not only raise the minimum wage, but create jobs that pay livable wages.

Massachusetts Attorney General and candidate for governor Martha Coakley saw a sea of supporters wearing light blue  swarm to the floor as she took the stage. Coakley said Governor Deval Patrick is leaving some big shoes to fill by not seeking reelection this November. She said its time to replace those shoes with high heels.

But, she quickly quieted her cheering supporters by mentioning the tough loss she and Democrats suffered at the hands of Republican Scott Brown in the 2010 Senate race. Coakley re-engerized them by promising as governor, Massachusetts will treat mental illness the same way it treats diabetes and heart disease. 

Biotech executive Joe Avellone had the most passion in his voice of all the candidates for governor as he promised to fight for those affected by heroin and opioid abuse and addiction. He said the issue has been ignored for too long because those suffering aren't well represented. He yelled out that there is no Super PAC for addicts.

Former administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama, Don Berwick, spoke with a message of including "all" in social justice and economic progress. Berwick said he would like to ask Republican Charlie Baker, who is running for governor, what syllable of 'all' he doesn't understand.

Juliette Kayyem said Democrats don't own the governor's office anymore with Governor Patrick leaving at the end of 2014. As a candidate for governor, the former national expert under Patrick and President Obama, warned that Baker and the Republicans see an opening. Kayyem said as governor she is willing to admit when and where government goes wrong. Kayyem says becoming governor is not a lifetime achievement award and that Democrats don't win elections when the party chooses the next in line. 

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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