A business executive who spent his childhood in what he calls unstable, cruel and at times violent foster homes announced a primary challenge Tuesday to Democratic Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.
Steve Pemberton, 52, whose memoir about his time as a foster child was turned into a movie, released a YouTube video highlighting his past and scheduled campaign events in New Bedford, Boston and Worcester.
"I am running to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate because we need leaders who understand the human toll of failed policies and the cost of willful indifference to our families," Pemberton said in a statement.
He is the second person to challenge Markey in the September 2020 primary. Shannon Liss-Riordan, a Brookline-based workers' rights lawyer, said in May she would run.
An email was left with a spokeswoman for Markey.
Markey, 72, served in the U.S. House for 37 years before winning election in 2013 to the Senate seat previously held by Democrat John Kerry.
Pemberton, a New Bedford native, Boston College graduate and married father of three, recently moved to Framingham. A former college admissions counselor, he has been an executive at pharmacy company Walgreens and is currently chief human resources officer at Workhuman, a Framingham-based technology company.
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In the statement announcing his run, he said he was born to a single alcoholic mother and an absent father lost to gun violence. His memoir, "A Chance in the World," was published in 2012 and later made into a movie.
He also condemned the tactics of Republican President Donald Trump in his announcement.
"At a time when we have a president who wakes up each day more focused on who he can hurt rather than who he can help _ from his racist attacks on congresswomen of color to his destructive immigration policies — we need elected officials that can help restore trust and integrity to a society whose norms have been shattered."
Trump has denied that his comments were racist.