Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate whose campaign railed against wealth inequality and spurred a new political movement on the American left, endorsed five candidates for Cambridge City Council on Monday.
Sanders, who visited Cambridge and Somerville for a rally, was speaking on behalf of political action group Our Revolution, which is based off of his presidential run. The group endorsed five of the twenty-six candidates running for Cambridge City Council: Sumbul Siddiqui, Vatsady Sivongxay, Quinton Zondervan, and incumbents Dennis J. Carlone and Jan Devereaux. He also endorsed candidates for a number of Somerville positions.
According to Our Revolution’s website, the event was meant to garner support for candidates who “fight for livable wages, affordable housing, and quality public education.”
Incumbent City Councillor Jan Devereux, who received an endorsement from Sanders, said she was happy with the event.
“To hear Senator Sanders speak in person, a first for me, in a small venue was a great way to kick off the last two weeks of my campaign,” she said. “He also stressed the importance of reforming and reinvigorating our democracy from the bottom up which as a local elected official was music to my ears.”
Sanders’s speech focused on eroding the influence of wealth in politics, speaking out against private funding for elections and calling for a “livable wage.” He also said Cambridge should be proud to be the home of so many prestigious universities.
“What the political revolution is about, is we’re saying if we’re going to be successful in taking on the billionaire class whose greed is destroying this country, we need a mass movement of people at the grassroots level who are going to stand up and fight back,” Sanders said.
“That means getting involved, and that’s what your candidates are doing at the local level.” he added.
But not everyone was satisfied with Sanders’s visit.
In a letter to Sanders, several local officials and politicians, including Mass. State Rep. Marjorie Decker, criticized his decision to endorse local candidates, calling it unnecessary.
“There are many races around the country, including some local ones, where a progressive voice is needed. Intervening in the Cambridge city council race is a counterproductive choice and divides, rather than unites, progressives here,” the letter reads.
A Better Cambridge, which refers to itself as “a citywide resident group,” has also endorsed candidates for the election, including current Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Vice Mayor Marc McGovern, as well as contenders Samuel Gebru, Adriane Musgrave, and Alanna Mallon.
The Cambridge City election will be held on Nov. 7.
—Staff writer Nicholas W Sundberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickWSundberg.
— Staff writer Lucy Wang can be reached at email@example.com
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Bern-ed OutAs a symbol of leftist politics, Bernie Sanders’s presence in this local election is detrimental to the nonpartisanship that makes local government work.