Martha Coakley: Why I'm running for Senate

Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate in the special Massachusetts election for US Senate Jan. 19, makes her case.

Today, in Massachusetts and across the country, we face multiple and serious challenges. Our economy is stuck in a severe recession. Millions have lost their jobs, homes, and retirements. Tens of millions of people have no health insurance, even as skyrocketing healthcare costs cripple our budgets. In the face of these challenges, Massachusetts needs strong, honest, experienced leadership.

I am running for the United States Senate because I want to work to turn this economy around and move us toward a brighter future.

I grew up in a middle-class family in western Massachusetts. My father served in the Navy during World War II, then opened a small insurance agency. My mother dedicated her life to raising five children. My parents taught us the value of hard work, giving back, public service, and looking out for those less fortunate. These principles have guided me throughout my career.

In 2-1/2 decades of public service, I have learned a lot about this commonwealth, the challenges we face, and of the needs of our residents. As a state and federal prosecutor, Middlesex District Attorney, and your attorney general, I’ve built a strong record as a different kind of leader who delivers results for all of Massachusetts.

While the path to our economic recovery is yet unpaved, as attorney general, I have led the way in addressing the root causes of the crisis. I took groundbreaking steps, holding predatory lenders and Wall Street accountable. I recovered more than $135 million for homeowners and taxpayers. I’ve fought for lower utility rates for our families and held companies accountable for scamming our seniors. In total, I’ve recovered $1 billion for taxpayers from pharmaceutical, utility, insurance, and other companies that committed fraud. That is real accountability. And those are real results.

In the Senate, I will support enhanced financial regulation of Wall Street to prevent another collapse. I’ll fight to protect consumers and families and work to lower taxes on the middle class.

As attorney general, I took on the health insurance companies for denying coverage, and supported the Massachusetts healthcare law that expanded coverage for hundreds of thousands of people. In the Senate, I’ll fight for expanded access to quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans, and will oppose attempts to limit Medicare for our seniors.

I’ve spent my entire career working to keep our communities safe. I prosecuted vicious felons and dangerous predators who abused our children. I worked with our schools to keep our children safe and on the right path, and in the aftermath of 9/11, I worked with state and federal officials to analyze our vulnerabilities and plan for emergency measures to keep our state and our country safe.

In Washington, I will work to give law enforcement the tools necessary to protect our borders, airports, and seaports. I will ensure that our men and women in uniform have the training, technology, and equipment they need when they are deployed, and the healthcare and benefits they deserve when they return home. I will demand that we only send our military into harm’s way with clear objectives, a sound exit strategy, and the resources they need to accomplish the mission.

I have seven grandnieces and a grandnephew whom I adore, and I want them to live in a better world, where they have access to good jobs; quality, affordable healthcare; and a clean environment. I want them to live in a world that is not only safe and secure but also just, and where equality and fairness exist so that they are free to pursue their dreams.

Ted Kennedy held this seat for the past half century. He fought for the less fortunate and for the most vulnerable members of our society – children, our seniors, and the disabled. He was known and loved throughout this commonwealth for connecting with his constituents, never forgetting that he was there to serve all of us, whatever our political affiliation. I look forward to carrying on that legacy.

I ask you to stand with me on Tuesday, Jan. 19, to lead Massachusetts and this nation into the next great chapter of our history.

Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, is the Democratic candidate for US Senate.

Editor’s note: The Monitor invited all three candidates, Republican Scott Brown, Democrat Martha Coakley, and Independent Joe Kennedy, to explain why they’re running for Senate. You can read Joe Kennedy’s essay here. We’re still waiting for Scott Brown to respond.

Are you registered to vote in Massachusetts? Find out where to vote here.

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