Sorry for the tardiness of my Candidate Tuesday. But, fear not oh wonderful readers. Your Candidate “Tuesday” has arrived.
As a reminder, this is where we are so far:
Joe Kennedy (no, not that one. A different one.)
Let’s meet Congressman Mike Capuano. 57 years old, Congressman Capuano has represented the 8th District of Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives for 10 years. It is a seat once held by President John F. Kennedy Jr. and, right before Capuano, Joe Kennedy. Will he, once again, occupy a seat made famous by a Kennedy?
As Congressman, Capuano is perhaps best known for his work to increase international aid for developing countries and for his advocacy on behalf of the victims of the genocide and slavery in Sudan. He has been instrumental in ensuring support for new funding bills aimed at helping poor African nations. His focus on international affairs led him to co-found Congressional Caucuses on Sudan and Korea and continue to demonstrate real leadership on issues facing the rest of the world. In addition, Capuano has received a 96% rating by the National Education Association and has done a lot of work to ensure all students have access to quality educational programs and good schools and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
In his career in the House, Capuano has been a solidly Democratic voice and his voted with his party more than 98% of the time. The most notable split has been in the area of immigration, with Capuano voting, 2006, in support of constructing a fence through four states in the Southeastern part of the USA. The Washington Post has compiled a solid profile of his voting record that is worth checking out. One of the downsides of running for office as a Senator or Representative is that there is a ton of information out there on how you have voted and what you showed up for. It is part of the reason Senators are so rarely elected President. But, since it is there, it is worth looking at.
In addition, Congressman Capuano has always been very focused on constituent services and on being there for whatever needs his community has. In that vein, he has been very successful in bringing home money for local projects. He is an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq and has voted against the Patriot Act. Finally, he headed the transition when Democrats took the majority in the House in 2006 and chaired the bipartisan Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement which resulted in the creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Mike Capuano certainly has the most relevent experience of any of the candidates and seems to have the Kennedy desire to help his community and work to support their needs. The fact that he has directly followed a Kennedy before leads me to believe that he has the ability to convince people he is the best to carry on their legacy. His biggest barrier is name recognition and overcoming that obstacle will be key to his having any shot to win the nomination.