Report: Pemberton, BC ’89, Considering Challenging Markey, BC ’68, for Senate Seat

Steve Pemberton, BC ’89, Hon. ’15, is “considering” challenging incumbent Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, BC ’68, J.D. ’72, for Markey’s seat in Congress’s most prestigious chamber, according to a Boston Globe report.

Pemberton is a member of Boston College’s Board of Trustees and most recently appeared at BC when he spoke at the Thea Bowman AHANA+ and Intercultural Center’s Black History Month opening event. His life story was immortalized in his autobiography, A Chance in the World, which was also adapted into a movie. Pemberton had to overcome being placed in foster care when he was 3 years-old—the Globe described Pemberton’s journey as “harrowing and unstable.”

Markey was elected to his seat in the Senate in 2013, when he won a special election to fill John Kerry’s, J.D. ’76 vacated slot—Kerry left the Senate to serve as Barack Obama’s second and final Secretary of State. Markey also won a 2014 election to retain his seat. His most recent public appearance at BC came in March 2018, when he spoke to students about remaining active on the political scene after that year’s March for Our Lives.

The longtime politician served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for over 35 years before running for a Senate seat. Morning Consult’s statistics have Markey pinned as the 16th most popular senator in America, with a 51 percent approval rating and a 23 percent disapproval rating overall through the first quarter of 2019. He’s far more popular among Democrats, with whom he holds a 61 percent approval rating.

Markey told WBUR in October 2018 that he planned on running for reelection in 2019.

“This is an important time for our country and we need to ensure that people who know what they’re doing and are passionate are there on the front lines every single day to shut down Donald Trump and his agenda,” he said.

Pemberton currently is the chief human resources officer for Workhuman, a company that provides “human capital management” resources—essentially, the company partners with corporations in order to supply HR solutions that make employees feel respected and appreciated. Before that, Pemberton was global chief diversity officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance—a health and well-being enterprise run by that pharmaceutical giant. Pemberton also served as chief diversity officer for Monster.com.

Pemberton has established a successful career as a public speaker—he has spoken in front of members of corporations, non-profits, and universities. Pemberton gave the BC First-Year Convocation address in 2016.

“We’re at the crossroads of what kind of society we are and what we’re going to become,” he said to the Globe. “For me, it’s a natural continuation of my life mission—I’ve always been involved in matters of equality and access and opportunity for all. It’s taken me down a lot of different paths.”

Markey’s political leanings are heavily to the left—GovTrack.us statistics indicate that Markey is the fourth-most liberal member of the Senate at the moment. He serves on four Senate committees: Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Environment and Public Works; Foreign Relations; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Markey serves as the ranking member of the subcommittee on science and space, the subcommittee in charge of oversight of environment and public works, and the subcommittee on east Asian and pacific affairs.

While in the Senate, Markey has focused most of his work on issues related to health, international affairs, energy, and transportation, according to GovTrack.us.

Pemberton’s advisory team includes a former strategist for Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and a former strategist for Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Joe Kennedy III, according to the Globe report.

Pemberton told the Globe that he’s interested in running due to “hope running short” among working-class Massachusetts citizens.

“When you get outside the bubble that Boston can be, and you spend time in places like where I’m from, you see an entirely different narrative,” he said. “You see people who feel locked out—not only locked out for themselves, but locked out for future generations, as well.”
Pemberton indicated in his interview with the Globe that he supports abortion rights—as Markey does—as one part of his broad support for women’s equality. In addition, the Globe reported Pemberton wants to address issues surrounding income inequality, including health care inequities.

Steve Pemberton, BC ’89, Hon. ’15, is “considering” challenging incumbent Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, BC ’68, J.D. ’72, for Markey’s seat in Congress’s most prestigious chamber, according to a Boston Globe report.

Pemberton is a member of Boston College’s Board of Trustees and most recently appeared at BC when he spoke at the Thea Bowman AHANA+ and Intercultural Center’s Black History Month opening event. His life story was immortalized in his autobiography, A Chance in the World, which was also adapted into a movie. Pemberton had to overcome being placed in foster care when he was 3 years-old—the Globe described Pemberton’s journey as “harrowing and unstable.”

Markey was elected to his seat in the Senate in 2013, when he won a special election to fill John Kerry’s, J.D. ’76 vacated slot—Kerry left the Senate to serve as Barack Obama’s second and final Secretary of State. Markey also won a 2014 election to retain his seat. His most recent public appearance at BC came in March 2018, when he spoke to students about remaining active on the political scene after that year’s March for Our Lives.

The longtime politician served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for over 35 years before running for a Senate seat. Morning Consult’s statistics have Markey pinned as the 16th most popular senator in America, with a 51 percent approval rating and a 23 percent disapproval rating overall through the first quarter of 2019. He’s far more popular among Democrats, with whom he holds a 61 percent approval rating.

Markey told WBUR in October 2018 that he planned on running for reelection in 2019.

“This is an important time for our country and we need to ensure that people who know what they’re doing and are passionate are there on the front lines every single day to shut down Donald Trump and his agenda,” he said.

Pemberton currently is the chief human resources officer for Workhuman, a company that provides “human capital management” resources—essentially, the company partners with corporations in order to supply HR solutions that make employees feel respected and appreciated. Before that, Pemberton was global chief diversity officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance—a health and well-being enterprise run by that pharmaceutical giant. Pemberton also served as chief diversity officer for Monster.com.

Pemberton has established a successful career as a public speaker—he has spoken in front of members of corporations, non-profits, and universities. Pemberton gave the BC First-Year Convocation address in 2016.

“We’re at the crossroads of what kind of society we are and what we’re going to become,” he said to the Globe. “For me, it’s a natural continuation of my life mission—I’ve always been involved in matters of equality and access and opportunity for all. It’s taken me down a lot of different paths.”

Markey’s political leanings are heavily to the left—GovTrack.us statistics indicate that Markey is the fourth-most liberal member of the Senate at the moment. He serves on four Senate committees: Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Environment and Public Works; Foreign Relations; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Markey serves as the ranking member of the subcommittee on science and space, the subcommittee in charge of oversight of environment and public works, and the subcommittee on east Asian and pacific affairs.

While in the Senate, Markey has focused most of his work on issues related to health, international affairs, energy, and transportation, according to GovTrack.us.

Pemberton said to the Globe that he’s interested in running due to “hope running short” among working-class Massachusetts citizens.

“When you get outside the bubble that Boston can be, and you spend time in places like where I’m from, you see an entirely different narrative,” he said. “You see people who feel locked out—not only locked out for themselves, but locked out for future generations, as well.”

Pemberton indicated in his interview with the Globe that he supports abortion rights—as Markey does—as one part of his broad support for women’s equality. In addition, the Globe reported Pemberton wants to address issues surrounding income inequality, including health care inequities.

Featured Graphic by Jack Goldman / Heights Editor

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Jack Goldman will be back soon. He was the news editor for The Heights from August 2018 to April 2019. He was a copy editor before that despite his rampant illiteracy. He was once hung up on by Mary Ann's. Who knows what's next. Don't follow him on Twitter @the_manofgold.