When Congressman Joe Kennedy III delivers the official Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday night, he’ll be speaking from Fall River, a Massachusetts city that is being heralded as the perfect place to host the rebuttal.
“History doesn’t visit us too often,” Herald News reporter Marc Munroe Dion wrote in a column Saturday. “We get by on our own. We are a working class place, a poor place, the exact kind of place that should have plumped for President Donald Trump. We did not.”
According to the Herald News, the unofficial count for Trump’s ticket in the 2016 presidential election was 10,792, compared to the 17,272 votes for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
With a population of about 88,929, the city located about an hour south of Boston has an estimated median income of about $39,663, compared to the state median of $75,297.
Kennedy, 37, will give his speech from the technology program shop at the Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School.
“As Democrats seek to build an economy that works for all Americans, Diman is an innovative and inspiring model. I couldn’t imagine a more fitting location to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union,” Kennedy told the newspaper.
Dion — and readers of the Herald News —agreed with the congressman. The reporter pointed out how hard the opioid crisis has hit the city and and noted its struggles a former mill town. He said it doesn’t “get much more working America than a vocational school in a poor city.”
It is significant that Kennedy chooses to speak, not from one of Fall River’s worst neighborhoods, but from a school that thrives on work and hope, a school where tax money isn’t “wasted,” where the much-reviled “political correctness” puts wrenches in the hands of girls, where immigrant parents get the chance to see their kids climb above menial work.
Trump will stand behind the podium. Kennedy will stand in the fire, among the children of working people, among the children of immigrants, among the children of the poor, in a government-run school that gives out education without thought to wealth, or social class, or color.
Dion’s column concludes with a message for Kennedy himself: “Roar, young lion, roar.”