Voters Press Senate Candidates At Interfaith Forum

November 16, 2009

Author: Jenna Russell

Source: The Boston Globe

The four Democrats running for the US Senate met last night with almost 800 members from Boston area congregations, who demanded they commit to a platform of actions, including capping interest rates and restoring health care benefits recently taken from legal immigrants.

The candidates agreed to most of what was asked. But City Year cofounder Alan Khazei and businessman Stephen G. Pagliuca distinguished themselves by declining to commit to a 10 percent cap on interest rates that they said was not realistic.

On a night when the congregations were in charge and no stump speeches were allowed, leaders of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization called the candidates to the Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain to focus on a short list of concerns, identified as most important by their members. They pressed them to answer “yes’’ or “no’’ to whether they will implement proposed solutions.

“Tonight we are one organization with one agenda . . . and that spells power,’’ the Rev. Hurmon Hamilton, GBIO president, told the cheering crowd assembled under an arched ceiling in the airy sanctuary.

“We didn’t come to see the candidates, but the candidates came to see us.’’