Thinking Citizen Blog —Ayanna Pressley: Fourth Member of “The Squad” of 2018
Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day
Today’s Topic: Ayanna Pressley (1975 — ): Fourth Member of “The Squad” of 2018
After posts on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (5/30), Rashida Tlaib (5/16), and Ilhan Omar (5/2), I have decided to learn a bit more about the fourth member of “The Squad” — that is, the four first-term Progressive Democratic women of color elected to the US Congress in 2018. Pressley represents the Seventh Congressional District of Massachusetts which spans the northern three quarters of Boston, most of Cambridge, parts of Milton, as well as all of Chelsea, Everett, Randolph, and Somerville.” The ethnic split is roughly “34% white, 26% African American, and 26% Latino.” Pressley is “the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council and the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts.” Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE 2018 ELECTION UPSET VICTORY OVER INCUMBENT MIKE CAPUANO
1. “The Seventh District is by far the most Democratic in New England.” The District is the only district in the state the majority of whose voters are not white. The winner of the Democratic primary is basically guaranteed to win the general election.
2. Pressley won the Democratic primary by a shocking margin of 59% to 41% as not only was Capuano (above) a ten-term incumbent but their platforms were virtually indistinguishable and the last poll before the election showed Capuano with a significant lead, 48% to 35%.”
3. “Part of the reason the polls may have been inaccurate was a surge in the number of primary voters. According to Boston NPR station WBUR 24 percent of primary voters in the 7th district primary had not voted in the five previous primaries. The percentage of new voters included a disproportionate number of Hispanic and Asian voters.”
NB: She faced no serious opposition in either the general election of 2018 or the Democratic primary and general election of 2020. Her vote count in the general election of 2018 was 216,557 (98%). Two years later it was 267,362 (86%).
DOMESTIC POLICY: Medicare for All, Defunding ICE, lower voting age to 16
1. As with other members of “The Squad” she supports Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and defunding the US Immigration and Customers Enforcement Agency.
2. She also supports lowering the voting age to 16 and cancelling “up to $50,000 in student debt for approximately 44 million Americans who have federal student loans.” She wants Biden to do this by executive order.
3. She supports ending qualified immunity for police officers and the decriminalization of sex work.
NB: She supports abolition of cash bail, capital punishment, and solitary confinement.
FOREIGN POLICY: Israel, her philosophy, Soleimani
1. The only member of the Squad to vote for House Resolution 242 condemning the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement against Israel. (The resolution passed 392 to 17.)
2. “My approach to foreign policy is grounded in the same values that inform my domestic priorities — empathy, inclusiveness, and a belief that the solutions to our most important challenges should be informed by the people most impacted. The people closest to the pain, should be closest to the power, driving and informing the policy making.” (third link below)
3. She condemned the assassination of Qassem Soleimani in January of 2020. “It is consistent with the impulsive, reckless, short-sighted foreign policy of the occupant of this White House who I think proceeds as if he’s engaging in a game of Battleship and does not prioritize diplomacy.”
NB: If you go to her Congressional website and click on the issues tab, you will find no specific foreign policy issues. (fourth link below)
FOOTNOTES — parents, education, Boston City Council
1. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, raised in Chicago by her mother who “ worked multiple jobs to support the family and also worked as a community organizer for the Chicago Urban League advocating for tenants’ rights.” Her father “struggled with addiction and was incarcerated throughout Pressley’s childhood but eventually earned multiple degrees and taught at the college level.”
2. She graduated from the Francis Parker School, an elite progressive prep school in Chicago. “During her senior year of high school, she was voted the “most likely to be mayor of Chicago” and was the commencement speaker for her class.” She attended but did not graduate from Boston University.
3. In 2009, she became the first woman of color elected to serve on the Boston City Council. In 2011 she “finished first among at-large candidates with 37,000 votes.” She won 13 of the city’s 22 wards and finished second in three others. Pressley won Boston’s communities of color and many progressive neighborhoods. In all, Pressley placed first in more than half of Boston’s 22 wards. Pressley topped the ticket again in November 2013 and November 2015, and placed second in November 2017.”
NB: Pressley lives in Dorchester with her husband Conan Harris and her step daughter, Cora Harris. In 2016 Conan was appointed by Mayor Walsh to be the Boston director of My Brother’s Keeper, an organization set up by Barack Obama in 2014 to “address persistent opportunity gaps facing young men and boys of color.” Harris had spent 10 years in jail for drug trafficking but had turned his life around.
Here is a link to the last three years of posts organized by theme:
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This is your chance to make some one else’s day or change their thinking. Or to consolidate in your own memory something worth remembering that might otherwise be lost. Or to clarify or deepen your own understanding of something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.