Coakley Running for Kennedy's Senate SeatStaff reports
03:58PM / Thursday, September 03, 2009
BOSTON — Attorney General Martha Coakley made it official Thursday: She will run for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Eward M. Kennedy last week.
|Attorney General Martha Coakley|
The decision wasn't a surprise. Coakley was said to be interested in running for Congress last year when Sen. John Kerry's name was being bandied about as a possible Cabinet member in President Obama's administration.
The 1971 Drury High School graduate is the first to officially declare for the seat, to be filled by special election on Jan. 19, 2010. Coakley took out nomination papers on Wednesday.
"It would be an honor and a privilege to represent the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate," said the 56-year-old Medford Democrat in statement. "Throughout my career, I have worked to be an effective voice for the people of Massachusetts and to make sure our government works, and that it works for the people. I believe government should work well and work for everyone."
Coakley joined the Middlesex district attorney's office in 1986. She served as district attorney for eight years before being elected with no serious opposition as the state's first woman attorney general in 2006.
Despite living in the eastern end of the state for two decades, Coakley's swearing-in at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts in North Adams was a testament to her strong bond with Western Mass.
Born in Lee and raised in North Adams, she graduated from Williams College in 1975 with the first class to accept women. Her inauguration was attended by a who's who of prominent Berkshireites, including being sworn in by state Supreme Court Assistant Justice Francis X. Spina, of Pittsfield.
The last U.S. senator elected from Berkshire County was Winthrop Murray Crane of Dalton, who served from 1904 to 1913. The last Western Massachusetts senator was Frederick H. Gillett, born and buried in Westfield, who served from 1925 to 1931 after also serving as speaker of the U.S. House.
In announcing her candidacy, Coakley pledged innovative leadership to revitalize the nation's economy and to restore economic security for all citizens. She stressed her determination to address health-care reform, protection of the environment, providing for safety and protecting our civil rights.
As attorney general, she has sought to be a national leader on a variety of issues affecting residents, including addressing the foreclosure crisis that has plagued families in Massachusetts.
She received her law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979 and resides in Medford with her husband, Thomas F. O'Connor, a retired police deputy superintendent.
U.S Reps. Michael E. Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch and Edward J. Markey, all Democrats, are said to be considering runs. Their decision may hinge on what Joseph P. Kennedy II, a former U.S. representative, does. Senator Kennedy's widow, Vicki, reportedly will not seek to replace her husband.