Last June I was elected to represent the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate. As a kid growing up in Malden, I never could have imagined that I would have such an incredible honor bestowed upon me. I am humbled by this responsibility and I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon my experience thus far with the readers of Blue Mass Group.
What many people will remember about Washington in 2013 will likely be negative, and for good reason. Tea Party extremists shut down the government for two weeks. They brought our nation to the brink of default. They blocked gun control legislation following Newtown. They refused to extend unemployment insurance, even though millions are looking for work. Climate change legislation, equal pay for women, workplace protections for LGBT people, all stalled or stymied.
No wonder Americans are frustrated with Congress.
Yet despite the fact that in the Tea Party world where chaos is the new compromise, I found that there are still victories to be had on behalf of the people of Massachusetts. Since I was elected to the Senate in June, I have been fighting alongside our entire Massachusetts congressional delegation to represent the interests, priorities and values of the Bay State.
When low-income groups said that Massachusetts families were going to lose their heating assistance benefits in the middle of this cold winter, I worked with Senator Warren to get the Obama administration to release $450 million in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program. Massachusetts will get its share – $18 million – to help save lives and support families struggling to make ends meet.
When Massachusetts fishermen were crushed by a perfect storm of economic and environmental pressures, I fought shoulder to shoulder with our entire delegation to secure $75 million in disaster relief money to help our fishermen and their families during these difficult economic times.
When tainted steroid medications produced at the New England Compounding Company in Framingham triggered a deadly meningitis outbreak that killed more than 60 people and sickened hundreds more in 2012, I was the first legislator in Congress to bring this health threat to the public’s attention, introducing a bill in the House of Representatives to crack down on these abuses. Within weeks of becoming a Senator, I was proud that the Senate passed, and President Obama signed into law, a bipartisan compounding pharmacy reform bill that contained many of the provisions in my legislation to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.
And when coastal homeowners and businesses from Marshfield to Marblehead said that unaffordable price spikes in flood insurance rates would send them financially underwater long before the rising tides, I worked with Senators from New Jersey to Louisiana to protect homeowners and businesses from these catastrophic costs. Just last week, we passed a bill that will delay these rate hikes until a full affordability assessment is done.
These are just a few examples of how government can still respond to the needs of the American people, and how I and the rest of the Massachusetts delegation are working to represent our Commonwealth in Washington.
And I’m just getting started.
Massachusetts is already a leader in the innovation economy, including our commitment to unleashing a clean energy revolution. The first bill I introduced in the Senate would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and quadruple America’s clean electricity production, all while saving consumers billions of dollars through energy efficiency. It requires that a minimum of 25 percent of electricity come from renewable sources like wind, solar and geothermal by 2025. We can cut the pollution that is driving climate change while creating jobs that can’t be outsourced even as we make the products that we can export.
Natural gas consumers in Massachusetts are just starting to get what will likely be their largest bills of the year due to price spikes in January. After my office released a report showing how outdated, leaky natural gas pipelines cost Massachusetts ratepayers $1.5 billion over 10 years for gas they never received, I introduced legislation to promote the modernization of our nation’s natural gas infrastructure, creating jobs, lowering costs for consumers and fixing the leaks that contribute to global warming pollution.
I introduced legislation this week to protect the open nature of the Internet that has made it the most successful commercial and communications medium in history. The Internet was born in Massachusetts and our economy is fueled by the companies that make it their home. The Internet’s vitality and openness drives competition, innovation and job creation and we need preserve net neutrality to ensure a level playing field for consumers and innovators in Massachusetts and throughout the world.
And this fall, my legislation to preserve and reform our national helium reserve, legislation I crafted on a bipartisan basis in the House and voted for in the Senate was signed by President Obama. This isn’t about filling balloons for birthday parties; it’s about protecting jobs in high-tech industries key to Massachusetts. Helium is used in MRI machines, computer chip manufacturing, and scientific research labs that are indispensable for creating jobs and curing the deadly illnesses that plague families across Massachusetts and around the country.
And there is so much more work left to be done.
We need to extend emergency unemployment insurance for our workers. We need to raise the minimum wage so that everyone can provide for their families and have a ladder into the middle class. We need to link community college students to jobs in Massachusetts’s high-growth industries to help prepare them for good jobs while they are still in school. We need to help cities and towns rebuild their crumbling infrastructure with skilled union members.
More than a year after Newtown, gun violence plagues our nation, and our neighborhoods. Nine Bostonians were killed by a bullet in January, the highest total for that month in years. We owe our neighbors and every man, woman, and child cut down a renewed effort to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, increase research into this deadly epidemic, and provide effective mental health care to those who need it.
Gun control, immigration, and comprehensive climate change legislation are all generational challenges that we must address — not just for us but for our kids who dream of safe streets and schools, of a path to citizenship, of a planet free of fossil fuel pollution.
We can achieve all of these things and so much more if we reject Washington’s persistent pessimism that has made passing even the most modest measures seem insurmountable.
Because what matters in 2014 is what mattered in 2013: a quality education for all of our children; a good job at a fair wage; affordable health care for everyone; equal rights for all; and keeping our planet safe from climate change.
I am going to continue to work together with any partner who wants to achieve what matters, and move beyond the games and the Tea Party tactics that lead nowhere and only divide our country.
Keep posting here and keep fighting.
I’m not as worried about the polls at this point. The good news is, Sen. Stuffed Shirt (R-whatever state will have him) is taking the truck to New Hampshire, Gomez burned every bridge to every party he could find, Weld is busy Wynning lots of retirement grease at the public’s expense, and Baker and Tisei are looking to be the Adlai Stevenson’s and Washington Generals of Massachusetts politics.
The bad news is, Ed has always had a good record but too many people don’t know about and dismiss him as ‘another career politician’. Time to hit the Fenway crowds in the cold!
but I am wondering if this is too much of an “inside baseball” (or “inside basketball”) reference.
But I wouldn’t advise betting on them like Krusty did
Hello! Before I start, I want to make it clear that I am doing work on Senator Markey’s re-election campaign. I don’t believe, however, that my links to his operation make any of what I say less true.
Whether its gun violence prevention, clean energy, infrastructure, health care, net neutrality, or another issue of importance to you, Senator Markey has been working on all of them for us. His long service in the House speaks for itself, and beyond that, he’s truly been a leader in productivity and bipartisanship since he entered the Senate just a short while ago. In following his record, it’s clear that he’s showing us how some leaders in Congress still remember how things got done when Capitol Hill used to work.
My family has been a group of major Markey supporters since he helped my grandmother get very much needed assistance after her home was near destroyed in the infamous Storm of 1978, and I’m proud to say he hasn’t disappointed us since. I know that Senator Markey will not only help us on the issues of 2014 or 2013, but all the concerns that came before and after.
Ed Markey really is one of the best at getting things done, which is why I’m personally excited to see what he can do with a full six-year term! I just hope to help him secure that re-election in November.
Thank you very much for your service Senator!
…but no doubt there is a solid record here on which to run.
But I just want to take a second to acknowledge the premise. I’d much rather hear about what we’re fighting FOR than what we’re fighting against.
Seems like only yesterday we were gathering signatures for Senator Markey at the grocery store in Malden in an ice storm…Good times 😀
Just feeling nostalgic after getting my packet last night for gathering sigs @ the caucuses later this month…
I’ve been following the work Senator Markey’s been doing since he was sworn in and I gotta say I’ve been pretty pleased. He’s stood up on the issues he’s an expert on as we all knew he would, and he’s partnered really effectively with Senator Warren on issues that are critical to have that one-two punch on — the one I’m thinking of especially is advocating for heating assistance during this brutal winter.
Personally, I think we’ve got the best US Senate delegation in the US, but I’m kind of biased, I admit. Let’s win round 2!
During his campaign for election to the Senate last year, the press dubbed Ed Markey the “happy warrior” – happy, because of his irrepressible good humor in going about the business of legislating as Member of Congress after nearly two-score years as eagerly as a first-time Congressman would. And warrior, because of his willingness to do battle with monied interests of overwhelming odds (remember the BP oil spill?) in the cause of the progressive agenda. I found the moniker endearing but missing the point by a wide mark.
It shouldn’t have surprised anyone, but it delighted me nonetheless, that the newly-minted Senator Markey chose to leverage his considerable experience on energy issues in the very first pieces of legislation he introduced. Not only that: his bills on clean-electricity production and natural-gas efficiency were common-sense pieces of legislation with which he could reach across the aisle. (Just picture that, in this political climate.) What’s more: these weren’t only Massachusetts problems he chose to solve – they are national problems.
But then, that’s always been Ed Markey’s m.o. Even still as the nearly-most-junior Senator (NJ’s Cory Booker, I believe, wears that hat now), since his first days in his new role Ed Markey has quietly gone about doing was he does best – getting things done. He’s been smart, strategic and productive. What’s not to love?
The people of Massachusetts should re-elect Ed Markey to the Senate — overwhelmingly, IMHO — not only because he’s good for Massachusetts but because he’s good for the whole country. Possibly even a few Senators will learn a thing or two from Massachusetts’ new kid on the block.
I still proudly wear the campaign button you gave me during your first Congressional race in 1976.
What you may not remember is that my late Dad, was a Golden Gloves collegiate/amateur boxing champion who taught me how to fight before I could walk. Boxing became
a metaphor for life’s greatest lesson and Dad would often quote his hero, Teddy Roosevelt,a fellow pugilist
and true Progressive :
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Ed, please know that those of us who share your progressive convictions respect and admire you because you FIGHT for them every day with courage and passion.
Strength and Honor, my friend.
Fred Rich LaRiccia
Senator Ed Markey
Wakefield Campaign Volunteer
Mr. Markey, I also grew up in Malden. I was taught to respect our veterans. I wish I could say that about you. You just voted to cut Military Retiree/ Disable Veterans benefits and not one word of protest came out of your mouth about it. Same goes for Warren, not one word of protest. Mr. Reid blocked the VA funding bill from a Senate vote in Oct. and you once again, you failed to speak out on this along with Warren.
There are now lingering questions about your military service. It time you release you DD Form 214, so all can see your record. How about Mr. Markey!!!!
Please know that retired-veteran is NOT a member of this community. He is, instead, one of the handful of those who use this forum as an opportunity to post drive-by attacks on Democratic targets.
I apologize, on behalf of myself and (I hope) — for this community — for this rude and boorish comment.
HR's Kevin says
Perhaps you should publicly release your own service records?
In any case, it is far from clear that a vote or two on some very complex spending bills is a clear sign of lack of respect for veterans. I dare say that if you were to nitpick every Senators voting record you probably would not find a single one who “respects veterans” given your narrow definition.
I was at the caucus yesterday and I asked some of our other elected leaders what he’s been doing. Nobody seemed to know., why hasn’t he shown up in the Globe, e.g.? Why wasn’t he at the caucus. Elizabeth Warren showed up, spoke and left. But she made her presence known. No Markey. At first I thought he was waiting until Clark took over his house seat, No. I campaigned for him. I hear about senator Warren all the time. Where’s Markey? The original post is too discursive. it should begin with now. I haven’t seen his name mentioned on Dailykos at all. We need answers re: the Senate.