Candidate Forum: MA 4th Congressional
The Democratic congressional candidates running for the seat from the Fourth District have been invited to participate in a live streamed debate hosted by the Martin Institute of Law & Society at Stonehill College.
This virtual event will take place on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, at 7 p.m. and will be moderated by WPRI’s political editor Ted Nesi. Nine candidates are competing in the September 1 Democratic primary in the race for the seat being vacated by US Representative Joseph Kennedy III, who is running for US Senate. The candidates include: Jake Auchincloss; Dave Cavell; Becky Grossman; Alan Khazei; Ihssane Leckey; Natalie Linos; Jessee Mermell; Ben Sigel; and Chris Zannetos. The candidates will be randomly split into two groups and will each be given one hour to answer the questions posed to them by Ted Nesi.
Jake Auchincloss is a current Newton city councilor and a former Marine captain. He has degrees in economics and finance from Harvard and MIT and has managed teams at both a cybersecurity startup and a Fortune 100, where he focused on transportation. In the Marines, Jake commanded platoons in Afghanistan and Panama. As a city councilor, he has worked with friends and opponents alike to deliver results on education, immigration, housing and transportation. In the business sector, he has guided teams through uncertainty to success.
Becky Grossman is currently an At-Large City Councilor in Newton, Massachusetts, the second biggest city in Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District. Before joining the Council, Becky served as an Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County and an Associate at the law firm of Goodwin Procter. She received her undergraduate degree in economics at Cornell University and earned a J.D. and M.B.A. from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School. She is the mother of two children, Madeleine, who's 8, and Jack, who's 5. She’s running for Congress with the fierce urgency of a mom who is fed up by what's going on in this country and determined to make a change.
Alan Khazei got his start creating service organizations that bring Americans from all walks of life to solve problems. In 1979, he graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, where he was president of his graduating class. He graduated from Harvard College with honors in 1983 and in 1987 from Harvard Law School with honors, where he was a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. He founded City Year and was central to founding and saving the AmeriCorps national service program. He believes that there is no more powerful force for change than people united in common purpose.
Ihssane Leckey came to the U.S. from Morocco at the age of 20 with nothing but a small suitcase. She worked sub-minimum wage jobs, where she faced sexual harassment and wage theft, and scraped every dollar she made to put herself through community college. She ultimately earned a scholarship to Boston University and became the first person in her family to graduate from college. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, she was disgusted to see our government hand out blank checks to giant banks, leaving people hungry and homeless. She became a Wall Street regulator at the Federal Reserve, where she took on the biggest corporations on behalf of the American people.
Natalia Linos is a first-generation American, a mother of three children, and a social epidemiologist. Natalia is a three-time Harvard University graduate, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Master of Science in Social Epidemiology, and Doctor of Science in Social Epidemiology there. She also holds a Certificate in Forced Migration from Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre. She’s spent her career working to reduce the social and economic inequities that plague our country and to fight for healthy communities, healthy families, and a healthy planet. She is running for Congress because the people of Massachusetts' District 4 and the United States deserve science-based leadership they can trust.
Jesse Mermell is a graduate of Boston College and has spent her life taking on the toughest fights - both big and small - to serve Massachusetts and turn our progressive values into reality. From the front lines as a leader at Planned Parenthood and local elected official to the halls of the State House as a senior adviser to Governor Deval Patrick, Jesse is a public servant with a record of getting things done. She has successfully advocated on the most pressing issues facing our state and country alongside the state's progressive business leaders on behalf of policies to protect workers. She has rolled up her sleeves to tackle climate change and made the case for increased and equitable investments in transportation. For more than 20 years, Jesse's fights have been our fights - and she is ready to lead on them in Congress. Jesse knows firsthand the good that can come when we work together and put our progressive ideas into action. She's running for Congress to use her experience to fight Donald Trump's dangerous agenda and to fight for the future that everyone in Massachusetts' Fourth Congressional District deserves. Jesse is running for Congress to live, represent and act on the values that her Grandma instilled in her decades ago: to give back to the community, to care about our neighbors, and to fight for others.
Ben Sigel is the proud Jewish son of a Puerto Rican mother and a father born in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was raised in Braintree, Massachusetts, in a middle-class home and graduated from Middlebury College. As one of the few Latino and Jewish kids in his public school, Ben experienced first-hand the effects of intolerance and prejudice. He quickly realized that these incidents were based on false pretenses and ignorance. This realization drove Ben to work to bring people together, build bridges and strengthen his community. He believes in universal access to healthcare and a more equitable public education system for all our District’s children.
Chris Zannetos is a successful job creator, technology entrepreneur and education activist running for Congress to represent Massachusetts' 4th district. A high-tech leader with deep experience in cybersecurity, privacy and business process automation, Chris has a proven track record founding three successful companies, creating hundreds of jobs and over $250 million of salary for Massachusetts residents. An education activist and passionate believer in STEM education as a powerful tool to drive economic advancement and battle generational poverty, Chris founded STEMatchMA-a non-profit that brings companies and schools together to make Science, Technology, Engineering and Math opportunities more accessible to marginalized communities, which has already served more than 700 Boston Public Middle School students.
Ted Nesi joined WPRI 12’s Eyewitness News team in July 2010 and is now politics and business editor as well as a Target 12 investigator. Ted writes the weekly Nesi’s Notes column on Saturdays, is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and the host of Executive Suite. In 2017, he won a New England Emmy Award for investigative reporting.
Before joining WPRI 12, Ted spent two years as a reporter and editor at Providence Business News. He got his start as a rookie reporter with his hometown daily paper, The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, Mass., where he covered local government and wrote a weekly column.
Ted grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where he now teaches journalism. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife, Kim.