Boston Local 2222 member Paul Feeney won the Democratic primary on Sept. 19 in his special election bid for a seat in the Massachusetts State Senate. He’ll go on to face Republican Jacob Ventura and independent Joe Shortsleeve in the Oct. 17 general election.
Feeney, a 39-year-old central office technician at Verizon comfortably prevailed over his primary opponent, Ted Philips, thanks to tremendous support from the progressive and labor communities in the Greater Boston area.
|Feeney welcomed the support of his former boss, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who endorsed him during the primary race.
“I’m thrilled to be the Democratic nominee, but our job is only half done,” Feeney said. “I ran the primary based on working class values, idea and principles, and I’m going to do the same thing in the general election.
Union members were enthusiastic about his campaign from the very beginning, donating hard-earned dollars, making phone calls and knocking on doors. “I’m blown away by the support of these incredible working people,” Feeney said. “I can’t thank them enough.”
“Paul is unapologetic about who he is,” said Local 2222 Business Manager Myles Calvey, who is also a member of the International Executive Council. “He’s a working-class guy with a working-class agenda, and the folks who voted for him know he’s going to fight for them, for jobs, for better wages and benefits. He’s a guy who understands the struggles real people go through.”
The endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders was also a huge boost to Feeney, who ran the senator’s presidential campaign efforts in Massachusetts and Connecticut during the 2016 election.
As he turns his attention to the general election less than a month away, Feeney says voters have a choice between three very different candidates. “I’m a progressive who believes in good health care, quality education, a living wage and a fair shot for every person in Massachusetts,” he said. “Both of my opponents voted for Trump. I’m reminding people of that every chance I get.”
Feeney says he’ll need every bit of support he can get, both in terms of fundraising and volunteers. “It takes a lot of resources to do this. People were incredibly generous in the primary, and we need them again.”
Calvey thanked the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and state building trades federation, who he said were involved and supportive from Day One. Other IBEW locals, Boston Local 103 especially, pitched in to help as well. Retirees drove hours in some cases to volunteer for entire days in the leadup to primary day. “I’m blessed with really great, great members,” he said. “They came out for one of their own – a guy they believe in – and they’re paying back all the good things the Brotherhood has done for them.”
Calvey cited the recent victory of Manchester Local 2320 Brother Kevin Cavanaugh in neighboring New Hampshire as evidence that working people can have a greater impact if they run for office and the labor community gets behind them.
Feeney encouraged members across the country who are able to support his campaign to visit his website, www.votefeeney.com, to contribute.
“I’m doing this because working people need a voice in the Massachusetts State Senate,” he said. “It starts in this district, but it can happen anywhere. No one understands our issues better than we do, and it’s time for more of us to run for office.”