Michelle Obama Campaigns For Martha Coakley

Michelle Obama endorses Martha Coakley on Friday, October 3, 2014. (Caitlin Bawn/BU News Service)
Michelle Obama endorses Martha Coakley on Friday, October 3, 2014. (Caitlin Bawn/BU News Service)

By Caitlin Bawn
BU News Service

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Democratic Attorney General and candidate for governor Martha Coakley at a campaign rally at Strand Theatre in Dorchester Friday afternoon. Obama spoke passionately about Coakley as a candidate, describing her as a “tireless advocate” for women’s rights — in health, opportunity and safety.

Optimism echoed around the theater, which was filled with more than 1,500 people. Other speakers included Coakley’s running mate Steve Kerrigan, Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Ed Markey, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley.

Kerrigan kicked off the evening, promising the audience “Four years that will make you proud” if elected, and describing Coakley as “the best governor to protect people.”

Senator Markey spoke of the “crossroads” faced by the state of Massachusetts, saying that if elected Coakley and Kerrigan “can do good, and do well at the same time.” He focused on statistics related to children, and the power Massachusetts has nationally, including an example of the local policy which inspired Obamacare.

Until the First Lady arrived on stage, the night’s biggest cheers went to Pressley. Barely audible above the crowd, she said the race is not about personality. “I don’t care if Martha Coakley can dance, if she might be a good person to have a beer with. This is about policies.”

She then focused on Coakley’s strengths as an attorney general, namely her work with domestic violence and abuse survivors, and Coakley’s fighting for these individuals “before it was headlines.”

Not on the official list of speakers, Mayor Walsh followed to publicly endorse the “innovative” Coakley and Kerrigan for the first time, which he jokingly called “the best kept secret in politics.” He talked in depth of Boston’s successes over the last 8 years, saying that Governor Patrick had taken the State of Mass. “above and beyond expectations,” before stating that this growth would be continued if Coakley were elected.

Governor Patrick spoke just before Coakley, talking about how much is at stake in this election, He described the election dynamic as insider/outsider, highlighting Coakley’s strengths in combatting marginalization and promoting her positive values behind the policies. He described a “need” for these candidates to be in office, stating excitement for the whole Democratic ticket and pride in the progress made during his time in office.

Coakley then spoke passionately about multiple Democratic policies, including improved access to female healthcare, protecting women and children from domestic violence, access to education and opportunities for children “from all zip-codes”, better roads and public transport. She also highlighted the importance of partnership with businesses, stating she would “roll out the red carpet” for them if elected.

The first lady then took the stage, telling the audience that she was missing her 22nd wedding anniversary to be present, because these elections were so important. Using much of her time to encourage action, she stated that in previous midterms “too many of our people just tuned out.” She used her husband’s campaign as reference, saying that Obama won his election because unexpected groups of people turned up on voting day, namely minorities and women. She said of the Republicans, “they’re hoping that we won’t be organized. And only we can prove them wrong.”

The rally marked the first in a weekend of events across the state for the Democratic duo; Saurday Coakley will visit various groups of voters in Dorchester, Fitchburg, Greenfield, Northampton, Great Barrington, Pittsfield and North Adams, while Kerrigan will attend events in Quincy, Weymouth, West Boylston and Lancaster.

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