On Friday afternoon, Congressman Joe Kennedy called in to Boston Public Radio to discuss the impact that COVID-19 is having on his operations as both a congressman and candidate for U.S. Senate.
Regarding the race for Senate, Kennedy announced Friday he would suspend campaign activities until at least the end of this week.
“Obviously, in the midst of a race, when we’ve been running really hard across the state, it’s an unfortunate thing to have to do, but I don’t even think it’s a close call,” Kennedy said. "I think given the uncertainty, given this is the moment we’re in, a complete suspension of activity for a full week is the very least of what we need to do."
Kennedy's scheduled debate with incumbent Senator Ed Markey, which was expected to take place Wednesday, has also been put on hold until further notice.
“We’ll work with [Sen. Markey’s campaign] to try and reschedule that as quickly as possible," he said. "But I think, given the circumstance that we’re in, this is the appropriate approach.”
The congressman also offered his thoughts on what the response from Congress ought to be. Speaking a day before the House passed its emergency bill, Kennedy expressed worries over how both renters and landlords would be impacted by COVID-19.
"The consequence of this, again, is going to come down hardest on those who can least afford it, and the economic cost to society of that dislocation, to say nothing of the absolute devastation — if you look at somebody with coronavirus losing their house? If you’re trying to stop a pandemic, you don’t want them going to a shelter,” he said. "And you don’t want them going through the enormous dislocation anxiety [and] everything of going through an eviction under this. You can’t.
“There are also a lot of landlords who are in triple-deckers, where the owner of the home is on the first floor and they rent out the other two. Those owner-occupied homes, the owners depend on that rent, so it’s not just the family that can’t make their rent, it’s everybody else in that house that depends on that economic system functioning."