First Lady Michelle Obama left her husband’s side on their 22nd wedding anniversary last Friday morning to join Massachusetts Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley at a campaign rally at The Strand Theatre in Dorchester. The theater, which practically shook with excitement as each guest took the stage, was filled with over 1,500 men, women, and children who had waited for three hours in the cold for the chance to hear the first lady speak. Other speakers included Coakley’s running mate Steve Kerrigan, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Ed Markey, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09, and Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley—all of whom expressed support for Coakley’s candidacy.
Kerrigan began the rally, promising the audience four years of the best possible leadership and hailing Coakley as the “the best governor to protect people.”
Obama spoke passionately about Coakley as a candidate, describing her as a staunch supporter of women’s rights — in health, opportunity and safety.
“I think we can all agree that no one in this race will fight harder for families here in this state than Martha Coakley” she said. “Martha has been a tireless advocate for survivors of violence and abuse… She led the fight to raise the minimum wage, and in this campaign, she’s leading the charge for earned sick time for working families.”
Walsh took the stage to urge all those in attendance to take a stand and act for their own future as well as the city’s. Pressley, meanwhile, reminded the audience that politics and the gubernatorial election should have little to do with personality and more to do with policy.
“This isn’t about rhetoric—it’s about a record,” she said.
The first lady emphasized that enthusiasm and passion should win out over money in an election, and she urged the audience to rally not only for themselves and their own children, but also for those who fight against barriers of poverty and violence—who she said need the chance to take advantage of basic opportunities provided to them by the state.
“These kids have every reason to give up, but they don’t, because they are so hungry to succeed,” she said. “They are so desperate to lift themselves up. And if you didn’t have a good enough reason to get on it on this election, then just think of those kids—because that’s why we’re here today. Because those kids never give up, and neither can we.”
“If you want a governor who will stand up to powerful interests, if you want a governor who is truly on your side, then you need to elect Martha,” Obama said. “I’ve seen it. If we do that, if we all work together, if we all keep stepping up and bringing others along with us, and we just vote, then I know that we can keep on making that change we believe in. I know we can elect Martha Coakley as governor of Massachusetts. And I know that together, we can build a future worthy of all our children.”
Coakley faces Republican candidate Charlie Baker in the Nov. 4 election, which current polls show will be a close race. The two are both trying to rebound from poor showings in the 2010 election cycle—she in a disastrous Senate run and he in a substantial loss against Patrick.
Featured Image – AP Photo / Stephan Sevoia