BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III took to the campaign trail Thursday to press for a post-COVID-19 recovery package.

The proposal calls for a large-scale public works and federal hiring program that Kennedy said would help the country fight the spread of the coronavirus while also addressing economic injustices and pushing back against racism.

The plan envisions a shorter term crisis response program to create jobs critical to helping the country emerge from the pandemic while also funneling money into states to retain public employees like teachers and firefighters.

A second phase would focus on large-scale public works projects and federal hiring programs to help build a more resilient post-COVID-19 economy — including training programs specifically geared toward increasing rates of minority and women workers in underrepresented fields.

“Our society has become massively unequal,” he said. “It’s going to take an awful lot of work to address that.”

Kennedy is locked in a Democratic primary battle with Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.

Kennedy talked about the plan during a campaign swing through six central and western Massachusetts communities on Thursday. Kennedy said his campaign events are still relatively low-key and he's wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

“We’re back on the road today but we're nowhere near the level of the campaigning we would like to be,” Kennedy said. “Campaigns are about people and going out and meeting people where they are.”

Both Kennedy and Markey have been trying to find ways to get back on the campaign trail after months spent trying to campaign virtually during the state of emergency declared earlier this year.

On Wednesday, Markey participated in a “walking discussion” in Boston's Mattapan neighborhood to talk about a proposal he introduced with Democratic U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley that would create a grant program to provide local governments the funding to offer fare-free bus and rail systems, and address transit equity gaps.

The race is the most closely watched contest in the state this year.

Markey, 73, has served in Congress for decades — first in the House and later in the Senate.

The 39-year-old Kennedy, who currently represents the state’s 4th Congressional District, is a member of the state’s most storied political family.

Both candidates reported raising $1.9 million during the second quarter of the year.