Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III officially launched his primary challenge Saturday against incumbent Senator Ed Markey.
Big news: I'm running for US Senate. This isn't a time for waiting, for sitting on the sidelines, or for playing by rules that don't work anymore. This is the fight of our lives, the fight of my generation - and I'm all in. I hope you'll join me at https://t.co/7zwvI9aujq pic.twitter.com/WVkNLwCJbg- Joe Kennedy (@joekennedy) September 21, 2019
Kennedy formally announced his campaign in an email before a kickoff event in East Boston where his family first settled after arriving from Ireland over a century ago.
The race pits a lifelong veteran of Massachusetts politics against a young descendant of Massachusetts' well-known political family.
"We deserve leaders who will show up where we are. Who aren't afraid to break down an old system and build something better," Kennedy said in his announcement. "I'm running for Senate because this is the fight of our lives and I'm all in."
Markey, 73, has been serving as Massachusetts senator since he was elected in a 2013 special election to serve out the remainder of the term of John Kerry who was appointed as Secretary of State. He has served in Congress for more than four decades.
In a statement, Markey's senior campaign adviser, John Walsh, said Markey has also been a leader in addressing income inequality, gun reform, universal healthcare and reproductive freedom.
Kennedy, a former prosecutor, has served as the U.S. representative for Massachusetts' 4th District since 2013, representing communities south of Boston. He has supported LGBT rights and focused on issues like expanding access to education, mental health care and substance abuse treatment.
Though both candidates positions on issues are similar, the election is less about issues, and "more about change, because that's what voters are looking for," said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist with the Dewey Square Group in Boston.
However, Deb Kozikowski, vice chair of the Democratic State Committee and a Chicopee resident, said that she supported Markey because of his record and support for issues such as fighting climate change before it was popular to do so.
"Ed Markey was change before change was cool," Kozikowski said.