Why I Support Steve Lynch For U.S. Senate

A long-time BMGer makes the case for Lynch. - promoted by david

In response to Christopher’s challenge to make a pro-candidate statement and jconway’s articulate and well reasoned post on his proud support for Congressman Ed Markey, I am proud to support Congressman Steve Lynch for U.S. Senate.

First a couple of disclaimers – professionally: my union has endorsed Steve Lynch. Personally: I have know Steve since he was President of Iron Workers Local #7. I like and respect Steve as a person and appreciate his commitment to public service even while disagreeing with some of his social policy positions.

I believe that Steve Lynch and Ed Markey would be solid votes for Democratic issues and policy in the United States Senate (For that matter I beleive that of Gerry Leone as well). However, I believe strongly that Congressman Lynch will bring a different set of economic priorities to the Senate and that is the basis for my support for Steve Lynch for Senator. There are few voices that can speak on the Senate floor, from direct experience, for working class / middle class voters. Steve Lynch, who attended law school at night while an Iron Worker, began a legal career representing lower income residents in public housing facing eviction and other issues. He has stood on the unemployment line, collected UI benfits to keep a family afloat, traveled as far away as Alaska to find work – he gets first hand, not from economic theory, what this resession has cost wokers and why jobs should remain the priority of the US Senate.

It is that perspective and personal experience that drives my support for Congressman Lynch in this race. He and Congressman Markey share similar AFL-CIO career legislative voting records however, I believe their priorites as a US Senate will be different. Lynch’s focus will be more on blue collar / middle class economics while Congressman Markey’s will be on climate change, telecom and similar issues. A US Senate made up of a majority of wealthy Senators needs a balanced voice with regard to economic issues (Bernie Sanders can’t do it alone).

With regard to social issues, I believe candidates and elected officials can be educated and evolve over time. I am old enough to remember that Congressman Markey won a crowded Democratic Primary as the pro-life candidate on his way to Congress. Steve Lynch will not change positions on social issues as campaign pandering. He has slowly grown toward more moderate positions as a Congressman – Planned Parent federal funding certain comes to mind. Lynch has stated he would have voted and will vote for Supreme Court Justices who are pro-choice, not allowing an anti-choice position to be a litmus test for the highest court.

I have no doubt that Lynch starts out behind Congressman Markey in this Primary – both in campaign funds and name recognition. He also faces a primary voter universe that trends toward more progressive candidates and a Democratic establishment having endorsed Congressman Markey. However, Lynch has been in that campaign position before and won. First as a candidate for State Rep and then shorty after that victory, as a successful candidate for State Senate (defeating William Bulger, Jr in a hard fought primary). I worked for Steve in the 2001 special election after Joe Moakley’s passing. I was running a Lynch phonebank on September 11, 2001 when the attacks began. Everything ground to a halt as my phonebank volunteers were glued to the TV. No one was sure the primary would even go forward that day. The Lynch campaign was the first to recover from the massive shock of 9/11. Phonescripts arrived and voters were called and asked to come to polls -to not let terroeists win by stopping a basic right like voting. I have never experienced a harder, more emotional election day and we did not celebrate Steve’s win that night. But I saw a candidate and a campaign structure face an unimaginable situation, recover and complete the task at hand.

In 2010, after his vote on the health care law, Lynch faced a Democratic Primary challenge from the progressive side of the party (a union staffer in fact) and won that race (an interesting fact given the progressive nature of Democratic primary voters). In 2012 Lynch defeated a Republican opponent who had won a contested primary (Republicans apparently felt Lynch could be beaten – enough to fight over the monination against him). Lynch comes to the April 30th Primary as an experienced campaigner – experience that could make him a formidable primary candidate.

Lynch and Labor – Congressman Lynch will receive strong support from a large section of the Labor Movement(with a number of unions already having endorsed him), but that support will not be universal. Some Unions, recognizing that Markey or Lynch will be potentially be a US Senator and / or returning to the US House of Representatives, may choose to stay out of the primary. With regard to union support, I believe that Congressman Markey made a strategic mistake as he entered the race in December. While he clearly contacted Democratic Party Leaders and some advocacy organizations, he failed to reach out to Organized Labor – leaving Mass AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman and national AFL-CIO leaders off his early call list. Two problems with that decision. First Massachusetts Labor turned a 2010 special election union member vote ratio from Brown 49% / Coakley 47% into a 2012 November election result of Warren 61% / Brown 39% of union members. A significant grassroots organizing effort and structure still in place at this time. Second, with Markey’s career Labor voting record, early calls might have frozen unions into a neutral position and discouraged a Lynch challenge in this primary.

Brown dropping out and Leone Dropping in – Scott Brown’s decision to skip the Senate special could impact the Democratic Primary as well. With a potential Republican Primary, unenrolled / independent voters can choose to vote in either party’s primary. More moderate independents might have been open to a Lynch primary vote if the Democratic Primary were the only game. On the other hand Lynch could benefit from a third creditable candidate such as Middlesex DA Gerry Leone entering the Democratic Primary. While I understand Markey supporters calling Leone a potential spoiler, DA Leone’s decision won’t be based on helping or hurting another candidate – it wil rightly be made on his potential to win the primary.

Ok, I got a bit far of field from my initial why I support Steve Lynch discussion. I believe that Congressman Lynch will bring a different set of economic priorites to the US Senate than Congressman Markey. I believe those priorities are valuable in the pending two years and that a blue collar / middle class voice is badly needed in a Senate where Harry Reid lacks both backbone and balls.


42 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Thanks and continuing the spirit

    Thanks for doing this and for the shoutout at the top of the post. In continuing this spirit I will ask if there are any particular pieces of legislation or legislative victories that Rep. Lynch has been a part of that have helped convince you he is the man for the job? Also as a union member where do you think unionization should go in this country and what strategy does Lynch and/or support to increase a unionized workforce? How do you (and if applicable Lynch) relate to the assault on organized labor in Wisconsin, Ohio, and elsewhere?

  2. Ed Markey was pro-life at one time?

    First selling your vote on NAFTA in exchange for a small favor from Clinton, now I read Ed Markey was pro-life? That is what I call having no core beliefs.

    • Difference

      And let me say I have not accused Lynch of having no core beliefs (though his opposition to ACA had changing justifications) merely having the wrong ones on a host of issues I care about. Markey was like a lot of Catholic politicians, uncomfortable with abortion, and i really was not until the mid 1980s that Cuomo paved the way for Catholics to seperate personal opposition to abortion from sound public policy enabling women to make their own choices and providing them with education and options. But before Roe legalized abortion was viewed as a very radical liscense to devious behavior by the Church and wider society. Markey, like Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, and yours truly has always been personally opposed to abortion, but over time realized that personal opposition cannot be dictated to the general public, especially since it creates terrible consequences which even Rep. Lynch recently alluded to that we don’t want to endanger the public health of women or have back alley abortions. Keeping it safe, legal, and rare is not just a Clintonian phrasing but in a way builds on Cuomo’s belief that its the proper obligation of a Catholic citizen in a pluralistic society.

    • you to stop harping on something Markey did in 1993, I didn’t mean to start harping on stuff from 1976. Oh well.

  3. Now THAT's how you write a statement of support

    Unlike constant harping on another candidate’s decades-ago vote for something that isn’t a current issue, striker57′s piece makes a real argument for his guy. Now I’m more on the fence.

    • Agreed

      I am certainly not on the fence, but I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this post. I also eagerly await Striker’s response to my questions. Organized labor is incredibly important and should be enjoying cross partisan support, but it is not, and addressing those issues inside and outside the labor movement to make it relevant and strong in the 21st century are incredibly important.

    • I agree, and I'm for Markey.

      It is always rewarding to read a thoughtful opinion from the other side of the argument.

  4. I'd also like to say in Lynch's defense...

    …that based on rankings and other info available at Project VoteSmart he does appear to be a left-leaning centrist. He has even gotten 100% NARAL ratings in recent years. While he may not be storming the barricades for the progressive movement he is not a DINO either.

    • Keep in mind

      That Lynch voted for the Stupak amendment (I hope the Markey campaign remembers that as well). He has received high ratings over the last couple of years in which getting 100% has been pretty easy considering the bills that have come up in the House.

      Unlike Markey, Capuano, Tierney, Tsongas, McGovern, Keating, and Kennedy III, Lynch (and Neal) does not get endorsed by NARAL.

      Sure, he’s not an anti-choice zealot, but I don’t think he can be trusted on the issue. He may vote for pro-choice judges, but what about an anti-choice judge to replace Breyer (I’m assuming Ginsburg will retire in the next four years, but that Breyer will retire during a later, potentially Republican administration)? And what about the next vote like Stupak?

      • I'm just saying

        I think he’d be great to be the Senator from a state like Arizona, but MA can do better.

      • Voting for Stupak makes Lynch a non-starter for me

        I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this post, but voting for the Stupak amendment makes Rep. Lynch unacceptable to me as a candidate.

        I can understand why a union supports one of their own. But honestly I’m getting a little tired of political campaigns where every candidate has to show how “regular guy/gal” they are. This isn’t a knock against Lynch specifically — all the candidates do it now, and so will Markey — but a plea for people not to vote based on who’s got the blue-collarist roots or drives a truck or wears a barn coat.

        If you’ve been in Congress for 10+ years, you haven’t lived like an average Joe for awhile now. That’s just the way it is.

        Ted Kennedy didn’t have much experience as a working-class American, but he turned out OK in terms of championing working Americans.

      • Support for planned parenthood

        is what got him a good rating. I believe he said that he was voting for continued funding for PP because they helped keep the number of abortions low.

    • Mr. Lynch voted against the ACA and for the Stupak amendment.

      I don’t know what it takes to qualify as a “DINO” in your book, but I don’t want Mr. Lynch in the Senate. I can’t think of any higher Democratic legislative priority in my lifetime than the ACA in 2010, and Mr. Lynch voted against the Party on that pivotal issue. Sorry, but that’s IT in my book. End of story.

      I want our two Massachusetts senators to be reliable pro-choice votes in ANY confirmation processes, and I want each of them to be leaders in women’s rights. Mr. Lynch fails that test.

      • HesterPrynne nailed it the other day:

        In 2000, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted a statute establishing buffer zones at women’s health clinics, so that abortion and birth control opponents protesting at the clinics could not interfere with women’s access to them.

        Scott Brown, then a State Representative, voted in favor off the buffer zone law. Stephen Lynch, then a State Senator, voted against it.

        • ouch


          • Reasons?

            Does anyone know why he opposed the law? Lynch doesn’t strike me as the free speech advocate who would be against the buffer zone on free speech grounds, but maybe that’s why. Also, the free speech argument isn’t that persuasive when the buffer zone is so much about protecting against physical intimidation and assault. FWIW, the buffer zone was expanded a few years back and has been upheld against free speech challenges a few times since.

            Of course people can change, and maybe Lynch really has come along on equal marriage, but from opposing the buffer zone law to voting for Stupak does not seem like any sort of transformation on choice.

            • Because he claims to be "pro-life"?

              Here’s some more bad news, from Wikipedia:

              On social issues, Lynch is considered a conservative to moderate Democrat.[42] He is pro-life[42] and has been attacked by pro-choice group NARAL.[43] He sided with conservatives in the 2005 Terri Schiavo case, voting for federal court intervention in the case.[44] He has sided with Democratic leaders on gay rights issues, however, opposing a Federal Marriage Amendment and supporting granting medical benefits to domestic partners of federal employees.[42]

              He sided with the wingnuts on Schiavo? Not much chance I’d ever vote for him…

        • The HesterPrynne blog is quite worth reading. Well researched and quite witty.

      • Beyond abortion

        I defended Lynch on the abortion question, he is hardly a Mourdock or Akin and hardly a Barbara Boxer. He occupies the right of center on the issue, I disagree but could hold my nose. The vote against ACA was the day he stopped being a real Democrat in my book. All the working class hero bullshit is out the door because of that.

  5. Emily Rooney interviews Stephen Lynch- David please promote

    I didn’t know Lynch worked at the GM plant in Framingham. When pressed by Rooney what is a major difference between him and Markey, Mr Lynch discussed in detail the devestation of NAFTA- guess he didn’t get the memo there is a shelf life on votes. So happy he discussed how Framingham has not recovered since the GM plant closed, how by electing Lynch, a lots of regular folks will go to D.C. with him, unlike Chevy Chase Markey (is that where he lives).

    Sad story how his cousin was killed by gun violence. Please BMG, promote the audio please. I would do my own post but someone complained I was posting too much. Enjoy everyone.


    • Another major difference between SL and EM...

      Emily Rooney said on Greater Boston that is a friend of Ed Markey and attended his wedding (of course she did not say so until after she had pumped up Ed and disparaged Ed during the reporters’ round circle)…She is not a social friend of Lynch’s and was not at his wedding.
      The lines between media and political figures get looser and looser…

      • With my glasses on!!!! Sorry for typos!

        Emily Rooney said on Greater Boston that she is a friend of Ed Markey and attended his wedding (of course she did not say so until after she had pumped up Ed and disparaged Steve during the reporters’ round circle)…She is not a social friend of Lynch’s and was not at his wedding.
        The lines between media and political figures get looser and looser…

      • Kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel

        Martha Raddatz was generally considered the best debate moderator (Biden-Ryan) of this presidential campaign. And she attended Obama’s wedding. So what?

        People in Massachusetts know other people. Media people know political people. This is not new. The Kennedys and Alsops were good friends. And Ed Markey got married decades ago.

    • Dan, I usually find you

      annoying, specifically because you tell everyone what to think. Rather than say that Markey’s NAFTA vote is a big reason why you support Lynch, you have to imply how stupid everyone is for not agreeing with you. And then repeat yourself ad nauseam. It’s as unenlightening as it is obnoxious.

      But I digress, you should do your own post as often as you want. People can always ignore your posts. Post too often and you’ll get ignored, but that’s the risk we all take. Too many comments, not necessarily yours, can be annoying, but your posts have been well-written and encourage to keep writing them.

    • Easy to see why

      When pressed by Rooney what is a major difference between him and Markey, Mr Lynch discussed in detail the devestation of NAFTA- guess he didn’t get the memo there is a shelf life on votes.

      He could identify a bunch of other, more recent, differences. But bringing those up would not serve him well in a Democratic primary in Massachusetts.

  6. Thanks for the thoughtful post

    Let’s hope there’s much more of this kind of discussion going forward in the primary. I’m not sure how many votes it’ll ‘win,’ but I think it could go a long way toward helping us unite after the primary is over.

    RyansTake   @   Mon 4 Feb 8:09 PM
  7. If it's easy to get a 100% from NARAL

    Because of the bills that have come up, then why should people make position on choice a major factor in deciding who gets their vote? It seems to me that if he doesn’t have a litmus test for the SC, that’s all that really matters on that issue. On the other hand, energy, education, economics, and immigration are sure to come up time after time in the Senate.

  8. Framingham, for the record, Rep. Lynch

    Wow, it seems that Steve Lynch really did say that “Framingham and Natick have never recovered” from the GM plant closing 20+ years ago. Either Rep. Lynch has written off MetroWest or he’s politically tone deaf beyond his district, because that comment sure isn’t going over well out here.

    “Maybe he doesn’t know that MetroWest has Massachusetts’ second highest payroll (after Boston/Cambridge),” notes MetroWest Daily News Editor Rick Holmes. “You can bet Ed Markey knows.”

    To elaborate: The unemployment rate in Framingham was 5% in December, compared to 6.6% in Massachusetts overall. Two Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in town (Staples, TJX) along with Bose, and Genzyme has a significant presence. There’s an expanding state university. The town’s economic development Web site says there are more than 45,000 jobs in Framingham (population 68K) with a payroll of $3.1 billion.

    Yes the closing hurt a lot of people and yes it had a huge negative impact on a number of downtown businesses at the time. I’m sure there were families and businesses who were unable to rebound. But Framingham never recovered is misinformed to say the least.

    • Oceandreams- none of the companies you mentioned

      replaced the blue collar jobs that GM offered at the decent salaries. Unless you are an engineer or a VP, the only blue collar job offered at those companies is the janitor that comes in at night.

      • There is something to this

        Pure theory says that, with 6% official unemployment in 1987 and 6% unemployment in 2004, all things were equal. But they weren’t. Perhaps Framingham has bounced back, in the aggregate, from the plant closing. But a lot of people’s lives were seriously disrupted.

        I was a college student when NAFTA, etc., were all the rage. Every single professor I had, liberals all, extolled the virtues of free trade and these changes. The new jobs are higher-paying, they are cutting-edge, they are cleaner. The professors shook their heads sadly when I told them it was not reasonable to expect people being let go from an auto plant to go work in computer programming or genome research. “But the data…” I finally had enough and said, “All of that is in the aggregate. Come tell it to my uncle’s 40-year-old friends who lost their good union jobs and had to move back in with their parents.”

        Rep. Lynch, though I think he exaggerates, is correct that some families in Framingham had their world turned upside down. Maybe they don’t show up in the unemployment rate because they had to move away. Or because they found work with much lower pay. Dan is right that a lot of the newer jobs are at the high end or at the low end.

        And the loss of union jobs with good pay and good benefits, traded in for Walmart-type jobs, has had no small influence on our rising income inequality. To me the Clinton crowd’s unwillingness to see this has a lot to do with blue collar workers voting Republican today. As Democrats, we need to address those issues in a real way. Because it is right, because it is important electorally, and because standing up for workers is our birthright as Democrats. If Lynch’s entry into the race does nothing else, perhaps we start to have that conversation.

        Striker57 writes:

        Lynch’s focus will be more on blue collar / middle class economics while Congressman Markey’s will be on climate change, telecom and similar issues.

        Great. But I’m still not voting Lynch, because he’s unacceptable on many other issues, but also because I haven’t seen any specifics on how he’d address these concerns differently from Markey.

  9. Thank you for this post

    It’s great to see a modern, coherent case being made for Congressman Lynch. I think this may be the best kind of interesting primary — a choice between two visions of the party, rather than two different personalities.

    sabutai   @   Mon 4 Feb 9:05 PM
  10. I'll definitely give him

    my consideration. I haven’t decided yet. You are so right that this country needs more representation for the average worker, and less for Wall Street brokers and traders, or CEO’s. We need strong leadership to get us out of the hole that’s been dug, and it seems we are still waiting for the wealth to trickle down. It never will. We need our middle class wealth back.

  11. Understanding recessions and understanding recesssions

    Being able to talk about recessions as something you’ve experienced is a very different qualification from being able to recognize the error of austerity during recessions and the need for counter-cyclical government intervention. The Republican caucus in Congress has plenty of “regular folks” who are economic poison.

  12. We need a voice we can count on

    When facing the most important, consequential vote in all of Obama’s first term — the key vote for blue-collar, middle-class concerns — Lynch supported the Republican effort to wreck the Obama presidency. Markey didn’t.
    Why should voters expect Lynch to change when he failed in this crucial test?

    • Markbernstein- you are more worried about Lynch wrecking the Obama presidency

      Yet it was fine and dandy for Markey to wreck a whole segment of the working middle class with his votes for NAFTA and GATT.

      I have already mentioned just the few thousands of jobs lost in 2010, the Whirlpool factory and the Gillette employees in Massachusetts. Yet, your major concern is some guys legacy as POTUS on origionally a Republican idea of a health care bill, that had no public option in it? Are you serious?

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