‘Unity’ Dominates as GOP’s John Kingston Kicks Off Senate Campaign to Unseat Liz Warren

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/10/26/unity-dominates-as-gops-john-kingston-kicks-off-senate-campaign-to-unseat-liz-warren/

GOP businessman John Kingston kicked off his campaign to unseat U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday with a speech that appeared to channel another popular Bay State Republican — Governor Charlie Baker.

Launching his campaign in Dorchester at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate, Kingston focused on unity. The political newcomer from Winchester displayed his Baker-esque affinity for the motto “E pluribus unum.”

“If you’ll look above me you’ll see the words E pluribus unum, which as we know means — out of many, one,” Kingston said. “As a nation we’ve long aspired to live up to this saying, but all too often — and particularly today — we’ve fallen short.”

Kingston delicately criticized Warren’s reputation as an agitator and latched onto another common critique, accusing Warren of being more focused on fund raising with a potential 2020 White House bid in mind than on the needs of Massachusetts.

Kingston mentioned Warren’s name nine times in his remarks and told supporters that while he respects her achievements, and noted that he was acquainted with her while both were at Harvard Law School, “over the last six years she’s chosen a divisive path.”

Warren, he said, “has abandoned the core principle of unity in favor of bitter partisanship.”

“I take no pleasure in reporting on this, but it is unfortunately true,” Kingston said. “If you enjoy the name-calling and the bickering she encourages, then by all means, you should vote for her and send her back to Washington.

“But if you want a fresh voice and a new approach, then join with me and join this cause.”

Kingston was preceded in his remarks by his wife, Jean, who recalled last St. Valentine’s Day, when her husband shared with her his political ambitions and asked for her support to pursue them.

“Right in the middle of dinner, he ran it by me, and I was a little scared,” she said. “All of you who are sad and tired of the fighting and the partisanship, say yes like I did.”

Others who spoke ahead of Kingston included state Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) and the Reverend Ray Hammond, pastor of Jamaica Plain’s Bethel A.M.E. Church. Kingston in a campaign video released hours before the event is seen recalling his time as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, where he joined the local chapter of Martin Luther King Jr.’s fraternity and was the first white student to join the gospel choir.

Fattman in his remarks described Kingston as “a man that will have the courage to do what is right, and the conviction to say what is wrong.”

Kingston spent a chunk of his speech focusing on diversity.

“We’re joined here by perhaps the most diverse group to ever attend a political kick-off,” Kingston said at one point, naming Democrats, independents, and Republicans and ticking off a list of racial backgrounds of those in attendance. “And people representing all faiths or no faith at all.

“You see — It’s in my DNA to bring people together. It’s what I’ve done my entire adult life.”

Kingston joins a list of Republicans challenging Warren that includes state Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), former Mitt Romney aide Beth Lindstrom, Shiva Ayyadurai, an Indian-American scientist and entrepreneur, and Mashpee resident Allen Waters.

Kingston’s six-minute kickoff video begins with photos showing his working-class upbringing and his family, which includes wife Jean, whom he met at the University of Pennsylvania, and four children. The video also focuses on Kingston’s multicultural experience. At one point Jean Kingston can be heard criticizing some of the descriptions of her husband that have appeared in the press.

“Every time we have seen him in the paper recently, the quote about him is ‘wealthy businessman John Kingston’,” she said. “It seems like that’s the tagline that is what you have to say before you say John’s name.

“And it couldn’t be further from the truth.”

While Kingston’s blue-collar roots, including his math teacher father and stay-at-home mom, are on full display in the video, he has been successful, and is putting his wealth where his ambitions lie, as evidenced by the $3 million loan he recently made to his own campaign.

As for Kingston, Wednesday night’s event saw him make a promise that “when I get to Washington and the Senate I will work with Democrats, I will work with Republicans and I will work with this administration.”

“Only to do what is right — to advance our state and nation.  To make us stronger by making sure no one is left out and no one is left behind,” he added.