Metro Weekly

Working Families Party backs gay congressional candidate against House Ways and Means chairman

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is centering his campaign around progressive policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All

alex morse, gay, working families party

Alex Morse – Photo: Facebook

The Working Families Party, an independent political party that recruits, trains and elects progressive candidates to office, has endorsed Alex Morse, an openly gay man who is challenging U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District.

Morse, the mayor of Holyoke, Mass., jumped into the race last year, arguing that the people in the district — which covers the “Hilltowns” region of Western Massachusetts as well as several industrial cities and mill towns along the Massachusetts-Connecticut border — need a progressive champion who will fight for working people and who will not be beholden to corporate interests.

He has attacked Neal, the chairman and longtime ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, for accepting corporate PAC money, and, as a member of Democratic House leadership, for failing to push for increased financial support for Americans negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the CARES Act, which progressives have criticized as effectively serving as a bailout for corporations and wealthy Americans.

Morse, who has also been endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, has also centered his campaign around policies like support for free college, the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and ending mass incarceration — themes that have been embraced by other progressive candidates for Congress.

Calling Morse a “clear progressive choice,” the Working Families Party praised him as a leader with the “political will to shift the balance of power in Washington” and as someone “committed to building a Massachusetts that works for the many, not the few.”

“As someone who comes from a working family in a working class town, I am proud to be a Working Families Democrat,” Morse said in a statement.

“The Working Families Party has a track record of helping grassroots campaigns like ours unseat corporate-backed incumbents like Neal, and I’m excited to have their support. I’m ready to go to Washington to join the WFP to fight for policies that help people, not corporations and wealthy donors.”

The WFP has particularly been successful this year in helping other progressive candidates win Democratic primaries, including Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones, two New Yorkers who are expected to win their races for Congress in November, and D.C. Council candidate Janeese Lewis George, who unseated incumbent Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd in the Democratic primary, and is favored to win this fall.

The organization has also claimed credit for unseating five conservative Democratic state senators in New Mexico and for helping three progressive candidates for district attorney in Colorado win their primaries.

In Massachusetts, the WFP is also endorsing U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, who faces a challenge from U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III. The results of the Senate race, and Markey’s strength among certain pockets of voters, may impact down-ticket races, including the 1st Congressional District race.

As a result, the WFP will be mobilizing its 16,000 members in the state and lending the support of its national texting team in the hope of encouraging progressive and liberal-leaning Democratic voters to turn out, or return mail-in ballots at a higher rate, for Morse and Markey in the Sept. 1 primary.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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