Governor Dukakis’s 90th Birthday Celebration: Remarks of Senator Ed Markey

Nov 5, 2023News

During Governor Dukakis’s 90th Birthday Celebration held on November 2, 2023, at Harvard University Loeb House, Senator Ed Markey delivered his remarks through video:

“Good evening, everyone. What a tremendous honor it is to be celebrating the birthday of the man, the legend, my friend Michael Dukakis. And to Kitty, the indomitable Kitty, we know Mike would not be Mike without you, Kitty.

When Michael Dukakis became governor in 1974, we had been waiting for him. He was our generation’s leader, our conscience. He wasn’t just a thinker; he was a doer. As a state representative in 1974, I saw firsthand what he has done for Massachusetts and the entire country. It’s immeasurable because you can’t spell ‘Dukakis’ without ‘do.’ And he is still a doer, through the Dukakis Center, his work increasing access to transportation options and his tenacity in making the north-south Rail Link a reality for the region. We’ll get it done, Michael.

He’s a model for the transportation systems he advocates for. He doesn’t slow down. I know this firsthand from all of the work I’ve done with Mike and Kitty over the years.

During my 2013 Senate race, we had a moment in Lowell where Kitty and Michael were speaking to Cambodians through a translator. He talked about the need for democracy, and access to opportunity for everyone, especially immigrants. He told the story of how his own father immigrated to Lowell from Greece to become a doctor. He was able to raise a child who could become governor of Massachusetts and have a child who could be running for the presidency of the United States. The Cambodian people in that room were all nodding their heads, hoping that the American dream could be part of their family’s history as well.

And here’s what I know from that interaction: the Greeks may have invented democracy, but Mike Dukakis invented grassroots politics in Massachusetts. There’s an ancient Greek term called Agape, which means giving yourself the ability to respond to human suffering. That’s what Michael Dukakis has done every day of his career and his life. He has given immeasurably to the cities and towns of Massachusetts, to the people of Massachusetts and our country, and to our very democracy. He reminds us that the potential of our state, our nation, and our democracy rests on our ability to harness the potential of our people. And that is a commitment that Michael Dukakis has delivered on every day of his 90 years.

In many ways, everyone here knows one thing: that Michael Dukakis just may be the organizing principle of all of our lives. That’s how powerful of an influence he’s had upon all of us and upon this world that we live in.

So, happy birthday, Michael. Have a wonderful time; you deserve it. But I know one thing, you’re all not slowing down, and you never will.”