BEVERLY — Democratic candidate Angus McQuilken kicked off his campaign for a seat in Congress for Massachusetts’ 6th district last Saturday, March 7 in Beverly.
McQuilken is running for the seat held by fellow Democrat Seth Moulton for the primary election on Sept. 1 and hopefully the general election in November.
His campaign goals are to bring action and attention to the safety, economic opportunity, and quality of life for the people in the 6th district from Washington D.C.
McQuilken graduated with his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1992. It was after he graduated college that he co-founded the Young Democrats of Massachusetts.
He served as Chief of Staff for Mass. State Senator Cheryl Jacques for more than a decade before moving into managing advocacy programs for Planned Parenthood. He’s proud to have worked on and built coalitions leading support for legislation to protect marriage equality and access to women’s healthcare.
McQuilken’s next position fell in the leadership team at the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
“I had the opportunity to be part of the team that implemented Deval Patrick’s Life Sciences Initiative,” he said. “That initiative played an important role in Massachusetts becoming a world leader in life sciences and brought thousands of jobs to our state and to the 6th district.”
After that, he took steps toward his current role managing business development for life sciences practices at a global law firm. More recently, he joined Lasell University’s Communications Department as an adjunct professor. However, his first and most important job right now is being a father to his four children between the ages of 9 and 17.
The most relevant experience that he brings into his candidacy, he says, is three decades of advocacy.
“I’ve spent the past 30 years building coalitions of people who care about change, leading campaigns for the passage of legislation making a different in people’s lives here in Massachusetts.”
McQuilken co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which he said is the state’s leading advocacy organization working to ensure that Massachusetts has the strongest and most effective gun laws in the nation.
This Congressional candidate’s stance on gun violence is closely connected to his work for the coalition. McQuilken mentioned that he wants to bring Massachusetts’ gun laws to the entire country at the federal level.
“In Massachusetts, we have one of the lowest gun death rates in the nation... at the federal level, there’s been little to no progress in this issue for more than a decade.”
With lack of progress, he feels, comes unnecessary death and psychological toll on young people. He believes that this state needs a leader who won’t take no for an answer on effective national gun laws.
His next two priorities in his six priorities for the 6th district are the climate and healthcare crises.
“We have a president who wants to pretend that climate change is a hoax and doesn’t believe in science.”
While recognizing the urgency of declining resources, McQuilken sees the opportunity for Massachusetts to develop technologies which would contribute to climate change efforts and at the same time create more jobs.
In healthcare, he wants to focus on affordability, access, and quality of care.
“We also need to ensure that access to women’s healthcare isn’t compromised by politics. Women’s healthcare shouldn’t be debated in our Supreme Court.”
He emphasized the need for greater federal oversight into quality of care in senior care facilities, as well.
There’s also room in McQuilken’s six priorities for investing in transportation alternatives.
“If we want people to get out of their cars, both to reduce traffic and protect the environment, we need to give people safe and reliable transportation,” he said. “Our current system is literally on fire on a regular basis.”
He also wants to uphold economic development by protecting the federal resources fueling our development: the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute — both of which would receive cuts in President Trump’s proposed 2021 fiscal budget.
Finally, he sees the importance of making sure young people have access to affordable education.
“Students taking on enormous burdens of student loan debt limits the choices they can make after college in terms of their career, where to live, and when to start a family.”
McQuilken also knows that there will be even more issues to work on, but these are the ones he’s the most invested in after listening to the concerns of voters and their families.
In addition to addressing these concerns, he’s heard from the people in the district what kind of candidate they’re looking for in Congress.
“They want a candidate who’s going to show up and have a visible presence in communities,” McQuilken added. “Someone who’s going to focus on the job they have now and not on the job they want next.”
He shared that it’s important to voters that their Congressperson has a seat at the table and hasn’t burned bridges with other members of Congress.
“More than anything else, people want a member of Congress who can get results, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 30 years.”
McQuilken invites anyone who cares about change to get involved in his campaign for change for the 6th district in Congress.