BOSTON -- Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca announced Thursday he is a candidate to succeed the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Speaking at the team's home arena, TD Bank Garden, before a crowd that included Celtics president Danny Ainge and coach Doc Rivers, Pagliuca pledged to focus on job creation, the environment and civil rights. He recalled his work with legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach, who died in 2006.
"Red fought to open the NBA to African-Americans. Senator Kennedy fought to end discrimination in every part of our national life," Pagliuca said.
Acknowledging his own heritage as the grandson of an Italian immigrant, he said, "It is time for me to give back to this country and this commonwealth."
Pagliuca also is managing director of Bain Capital, ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's former firm. While he has supported Republican candidates in the past, Pagliuca says he is a true progressive in the best liberal Democratic tradition.
He defended his business record Thursday, saying, "No investor is, and no senator can be, perfect, but I promise to work tirelessly to help everyone in this commonwealth to succeed."
Pagliuca joins a Democratic primary field with Attorney General Martha Coakley and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, who's declaring his candidacy Friday in Boston. Republicans running are state Sen. Scott Brown and Canton selectman Bob Burr. The primary is Dec. 8, and the special election is Jan. 19.
Kennedy died Aug. 25 of brain cancer.