FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Democratic candidate Jesse Mermell has picked up her first endorsements from Fall River in the crowded contest to succeed Congressman Joe Kennedy III.

Mermell’s campaign said Fall River School Committee members Paul Hart and Thomas Khoury are both backing her candidacy to represent the 4th Congressional District, which stretches from northern Fall River through the Attleboros and Taunton into Brookline and Newton.

“Jesse has demonstrated her commitment to responding to COVID-19 in an equitable way that takes into consideration the unique challenges facing municipalities, as well as students, parents, and teachers who have to adjust to learning from home,” Hart, who previously served on the Fall River City Council, said in a statement.

Khoury added, “As our next member of Congress, Jesse is going to show up for every community in this district – from Brookline to Fall River – just as she has throughout her campaign.”

Mermell, a former top adviser to Gov. Deval Patrick and member of the Brookline Select Board, launched her campaign in Fall River last year. She is one of the fundraising leaders among the 11 Democrats vying to win the 4th District nomination in the Sept. 1 primary.

Kennedy, who first won the seat in 2012, is moving on to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Ed Markey.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook