After two unsuccessful campaigns for U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012, Alan Khazei never thought he'd run for office again.
But when Rep. Joe Kennedy announced he was running for Ed Markey's Senate seat, creating a vacancy in the 4th Congressional District, Khazei decided this is his time.
"I feel like there is a people-powered progressive politics that is emerging that’s very powerful," Khazei said.
The son of Iranian and Italian immigrants, Khazei realized as a Harvard University and Harvard Law School student his passion for service. He and his then-roommate, Michael Brown, founded City Year in 1988.
City Year is "about spreading more love in the world," Khazei said. "Because when you reach out to somebody, it opens your heart."
What started as 50 young people in Boston turned into 3,000 people in 30 cities and three countries.
But in 2003, a near crisis came for Khazei when the Republican-controlled Congress proposed an 80% cut to the Americorps program.
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"I had this crazy idea," he said. "Let's go to Congress, let's go right inside the building. And let's do a people's filibuster for 100 straight hours."
With the help of Sen. Ted Kennedy, Khazei says his coalition saved the billion-dollar Corporation for National Service. He went on to launch several more service organizations.
Khazei says he would tap into that experience to fight one of his key issues: gun violence.
"The first thing I'll do, if I get elected, is just ask Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi for a hearing room," he said. "Only I don't want to do 100 hours or 500 hours, I want to keep going until they realize they have to do this."
It's what sets him apart, he says from his 30-something opponents.
"We're all going to be the same on the issues," Khazei said. "The question is, how are you going to do it? What is your strategy, what is your experience and what is your track record? I've done this as a citizen."