It’s been a year since Massachusetts residents and others across the country saw large numbers of people storm the United States Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.
Members of the State’s All-Democratic Congressional delegation were among those who were physically closest to the deadly violence and trauma of January 6, 2021. And on the anniversary, they share their memories of what happened.
They are also looking to the future. Most lawmakers are calling for new protections for voting rights in the face of state-level restrictions – and are trying to prevent January 6 from being minimized or swept away.
Below, we’ve compiled each Massachusetts lawmaker’s remarks on the insurgency, what it continues to mean today, and what they want to change.
Representative Jake Auchincloss
Auchincloss had only been in Congress for a few days when the riot occurred.
A year later, he says the insurgency is not “history”.
“These are current events. This is happening now,” Auchincloss said. “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis where the majority of the GOP believe the election was stolen in 2020.”
Aunchincloss said he would not co-sign or collaborate on legislation with members of the Republican Party who refused to certify the election.
Representative Katherine Clark
Clark says many people who work on Capitol Hill still grapple with the trauma of the insurgency.
The Deputy Speaker of the House said lawmakers should focus on protecting the right to vote in order to protect democracy.
“Even though we have cleaned up the glass and the blood on Capitol Hill, this very threat to our right to vote remains real and it remains dangerous,” Clark told WBUR.
Clark says Congressional Democrats are prepared to work with the White House to protect this right, but don’t count on his fellow Republicans to do the same.
Representative Bill Keating
Keating says the insurgency has “lasting national consequences.”
On Thursday, he held a live chat on Jan.6 on his Facebook page, alongside historian and author Nathaniel Philbrick.
Representative Stephen Lynch
Lynch joined CBS Boston for an interview on the January 6 anniversary.
He said he remembered being kicked out of the Capitol, before being brought back to continue counting votes once the insurgency subsides.
Lynch said he was concerned about fringe groups who commit acts of violence and deny the truth.
“I can’t wait for the country to come back together,” Lynch told CBS Boston. “We have real threats this country faces, and we can deal with them better when we come together.”
Senator Ed Markey
Markey says that a year after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and attempted to overturn the presidential election, the right to vote remains in jeopardy.
And since Jan. 6, Markey says, Republican-led legislatures in several states have passed laws to make it harder to vote – and easier to overrule the results.
“Donald Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ has become an even greater threat, which is why it is imperative that we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom To Vote Act,” Markey told WBUR.
Senate Republicans oppose this legislation, so Democrats need their entire caucus to support the filibuster amendment. West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema have resisted the idea, but Markey is hoping they can be persuaded to change their minds.
Representative Jim McGovern
McGovern, like many of his colleagues on the delegation, says he too is concerned about democracy and voting rights in America.
The Massachusetts Central Democrat believes there are a growing number of Americans – including some in Congress – who are prepared to use violence to gain power.
“What these guys failed to achieve on January 6 – which was basically to undermine the will of the people in the elections – they are trying to do with bills and initiatives at the national and local levels to politicize our elections, ”he added. McGovern told WBUR Boston Radio.
McGovern was presiding over the House a year ago when security began to keep Congressional leaders safe.
“One hundred and forty police officers from the Capitol were injured that day. People died. [The rioters] destroyed parts of the Capitol. And they tried to undermine the election, “McGovern said.” So when people try to downplay the importance of it or pretend it didn’t happen, it really annoys me. I have no patience for this. And I hope a lot of people in this country won’t have any patience for that too. “
Representative Seth Moulton
Moulton says he remembers the Capitol Police meeting in the morning as if it was a small protest, seeing nothing different from an average day at the Capitol.
“I realized how vulnerable we were,” Moulton told WBUR Boston Radio. Later that day, he spoke with WBUR host Lisa Mullins while he was locked in his DC office during the insurgency.
Moulton says he had worse experiences than Jan.6 while serving in the US Navy overseas. But he knows that for many of his colleagues in Congress it was the worst day of their lives.
He says that while it is human nature to want to move forward, there has to be a concerted effort to think through, make legislative changes and dismantle the “Big Lie”.
“If we don’t change these things, then I fear another January 6 in 2022, in November. I fear another in 2024,” he said.
Representative Richard Neal
Neal says he saw the insurgency unfold firsthand – and that the nation’s constitutional processes were ultimately respected.
In a MassLive editorial, he called January 6 “the most violent assault on our Capitol since British soldiers invaded and set it on fire in the War of 1812”.
Representative Ayanna Pressley
Pressley was among lawmakers who took refuge in their offices during the attack on the Capitol. She was in Washington with her husband, Conan Harris, who had accompanied Pressley for his swearing-in ceremony.
“We don’t have the luxury of just turning the page on January 6,” Pressley wrote on Twitter. “Democracy won the battle that day, but the war against it is still ongoing. We cannot afford to be complacent. There is too much at stake.”
Rep. Lori Trahan
Trahan says she remains “extremely angry” about what happened on January 6, calling it one of America’s darkest days.
In a Twitter thread Thursday, Trahan thanked Capitol Police officers and members of the National Guard who helped protect the Capitol building.
Trahan wrote that the House special committee investigating January 6 will continue work to “determine exactly what led to the attack [and] find out all the details of the security breaches that followed. “
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Warren delivered a speech on the Jan.6 anniversary anniversary on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
She said the riot was fueled by lies about the 2020 election in an attempt to keep President Trump in power – and that a threat still exists.
“Today, Republican opponents of democracy are exploiting every avenue possible to allow their party to maintain control even if it means overthrowing the will of the American people,” she said.
Warren is among lawmakers calling for new protections for federal voting rights and the end of filibuster.