BLOG: An Open Letter to Joe Kennedy III

Sean Bielat writes an open letter to Joe Kennedy III about his disappointment in accepting debate requests.


Let me start by congratulating you on your recent primary win. You and I have met on a few occasions, and you seem like a good guy, so I want to be clear that this is not intended as a personal attack.

You have said on numerous occasions that you’re not running on your name. There are a number of signs though which indicate that you are in fact running on your name. Most tellingly, you have held almost no events open to the public, done almost no televised interviews, and appeared on no radio shows. I was hoping that you might use debates as a way to introduce yourself to the public for the first time.

I was very disappointed to see your press release today. Apparently, you have deemed that three debates are sufficient. You have insisted that none of the three be a live television or radio debate. You have also insisted that those debates include a third party candidate who qualified for the ballot but has since suspended his campaign. I don’t know how else to read these facts other than to conclude that you are attempting to expose yourself to as little risk as possible and to reduce the amount of time you will have to speak in the debates. All this is extremely disappointing.

I have accepted 16 debate offers to date. While I don’t expect anyone to want that many debates, we wanted to provide maximum flexibility. In 2010, Rep. Barney Frank and I debated or did joint ed-boards 8-10 times. Congressman Frank wasn’t afraid to defend his record, air his views or let voters decide who they agreed with more.

Every election should be about giving voters a choice between two candidates and their respective messages. If you aren’t in fact running on your name, I would hope that you too would want to give voters a chance to compare us and our views, and then make their decisions. 

I understand your strategy: build a huge war chest, mobilize Democratic activists, spend a lot on TV and direct mail, and keep your head down and hope that your name is enough to carry you through. That strategy may have a very good chance to succeed, but don’t you think voters deserve a little bit more? If you are a strong candidate and are more than your family name, why not agree to a few TV debates so that you can prove it?

I hope we’ll see more of you publicly soon (and I don’t mean in paid ads).


Sean Bielat

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Shawn Fitzgibbons, NDCC Co-Chairman September 25, 2012 at 06:08 PM
"Almost no events that are open to the public" - this charge by Bielat is totally false. Kennedy is incredibly accessible and has done scores of house parties throughout Newton, all of which have been open to anyone who is interested in attending.
Tim September 27, 2012 at 04:20 PM
To Shawn Fitzgibbons, I lean pretty heavy towards the Democrats as people can see from my other comments on this site. But, it does say something that Kennedy has "done scores of house parties throughout Newton" but none in this area. Why hasn't he branched out from the wealthy community of Newton to do house parties? Sorry, fair is fair, I had to ask. Your comment seems to indicate the candidate has a strong focus on a narrow segment of our district.
Shawn Fitzgibbons, NDCC Co-Chairman September 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM
@Tim - I spoke about Newton because that is where I live, where I am involved in politics and where I have attended (and hosted) his events. However I know that he has also done many, many similar events in cities and towns throughout the 4th Congressional district. If you follow his Facebook Page you can see the pictures. Kennedy is amazingly accessible and committed to connecting with all voters in the district.
Anonymous September 27, 2012 at 07:49 PM
The difference between Joe Kennedy and Sean Bielat is stark. Just by looking at their background, careers and how they make a living today.
Tim September 28, 2012 at 02:00 PM
From his upcoming appearance schedule I can see that he visits Attleboro, Taunton, and Fall River a few times. But looking only at his website's posted schedule you have to admit there is a rather high concentration of visits in the Needham, Newton, Brookline area.


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