Around 100 supporters stood in front of Joe Kearns Goodwin as he took the microphone following the endorsement of State Rep. Cory Atkins, D-Concord, to deliver remarks at the .
Their reasons to support the Concord Democrat ranged from long-term familiarity with the candidate to support for the platform he detailed in the speech.
"One of the most amazing and gratifying things was that I knew about half the people in the crowd," Goodwin told Patch. "I feel immensely proud that the people who know me are here but we need to keep working to get more people engaged."
Goodwin, 34, is running in a crowded race for the 3rd Middlesex State Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln. The Democratic race includes Lexington resident , Concord resident , Weston resident and Alex Buck of Chelmsford. The seat covers Waltham, among other communities.
The son of Richard Goodwin, an adviser to presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize winning presidential biographer, Goodwin is a Harvard graduate and a U.S. Army veteran, having signed up for service following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His military service attracted the support of some veteran-minded voters.
"Clearly, joining the military at a time when that was not on the radar screen for so many young men and having distinguished tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan [led me to] applaud his decision and support his candidacy," said Concord resident Rick Frese, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, with duties associated with that conflict. He now teaches American Studies at Bentley University.
Sudbury resident Karen Rossi added that Goodwin's military experience could appeal directly to some voters in her community.
"I think that his military record is really strong, and we have a lot of young men serving in the military in Sudbury, so I think it's really important to have someone who understands them when they come home and readjust," she said. "I know Joe would be sympathetic to that."
Others came to support Goodwin as someone they've known for most of his life.
"I've known Joe since Little League days when he played with my son," said Carlisle resident Pat Kilian, who scooped ice cream at the event and will volunteer over the course of the campaign. "He cares about the right issues and I believe will vote on the right issues and I'm really pleased to support Joe."
Goodwin also garnered the support of political players both inside and outside the district. Boston City Councilor Matt O'Malley, who worked with Goodwin on Steve Pagliuca's campaign for the US Senate in 2009, was in attendance at the event and said he plans to help the campaign even though he can't vote in the election.
Fargo's chief of staff, Don Siriani, has also chosen to support the campaign. Siriani said his support did not indicate that of Fargo, and added that he did not expect the sitting Senator to endorse a candidate during the primary.
"I'm here to show my personal support," Siriani said.
Atkins's endorsement (available in video above) spoke to both Goodwin as a candidate and as someone she's known for years. Goodwin, a friend of Atkins's son Dean, helped run her first campaign for the legislature in 1999.
The event was held in the backyard of Atkins's Concord home.
Goodwin told Patch the primary points of his platform would be to address the rising costs of healthcare, developing curriculum in public schools, providing services for senior citizens and veterans, and communicating those services to those populations. He added job creation and labor union support in his speech. Goodwin also said he would protect the middle class in finding ways to fund government, specifically saying he opposed gas tax increases.
"While I agree we need to raise revenue, it never should be done on the backs of working people," he said.
While Goodwin presented himself in his remarks as a progressive option for the seat, he also said he had learned in Iraq and Afghanistan to work to solve problems with people from different backgrounds and with different opinions.
Campaign manager Cayce McCabe said he did not see a contradiction in Goodwin emphasizing both a liberal platform and willingness to work towards bipartisan solutions.
"I think being a progressive does not mean being isolated to one thing," McCabe said. "It means getting input from every community to bring all ideas together. Really getting everyone's voice working together, that is being a progressive."