Raucous applause welcomed Democratic Senate hopeful Alan A. Khazei ’83, into the Upper Common Room of Adams House yesterday afternoon. Amidst a throng of supporters, Khazei entered with a pump of his fists, and as the cheering subsided, made a barely audible comment: “This is awesome. I love this.”
Known for his work with nonprofit organizations such as City Year and Be the Change, Khazei recently announced his candidacy for the position of Senator in the state of Massachusetts, a position left vacant with the recent death of Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56. Khazei was consequently endorsed by M. Maxwell T. Kennedy ’87, Edward’s nephew, and the two men made appearances at Harvard and Tufts University yesterday.
Kennedy said that the upcoming election is “absolutely, unquestionably, the most important election in this state in two decades.” Explaining his endorsement of Khazei, he said that he believes Khazei to be the only candidate who will fight for reform “without fear,” and is primed to bring new perspectives to Washington.
One concern spectators raised during the event was Khazei’s lack of political experience. Colin J. Motley ’10, president of the Harvard Republican Club, said, “people who hold state offices...have a step up” in this type of campaign.
During his speech, Khazei addressed issues ranging from his political motivations to the war in Afghanistan, while maintaining a repoire with his audience. When speaking of his grassroots campaign style, he jokingly implored students to “skip some classes” in order to volunteer for his campaign. Accompanied by laughter, he augmented his statement by advising students not to “tell your parents or professors.”
Witty comments aside, Khazei provided those in attendance with an extensive overview of his campaign platform, a platform that he has come to refer to as “Big Citizenship.” Khazei noted that “for too many people, the American dream has become a dream deferred,” and said that community service is the mechanism by which America could recreate itself as a land of opportunity.
At the conclusion of the event, Khazei answered questions posed by some students who were in attendance. After responding to four questions, an aide informed Khazei that he had time for one more question.
Two hands immediately shot into the air.
“We’ll take two more,” Khazei said.