I listened to a Zoom call this am with a handful of veteran consumer advocates who are supporting Ed Markey:
- Joan Claybrook, who was President of Public Citizen from 1982-2008
- Will Ogburn, former Executive Director of National Consumer Law Center
- Henry Waxman, former US Rep (CA) and chair of House Energy Committee (co-author of 2010 Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade climate legislation)
- Jim Aloisi, former Massachusetts Transportation Secretary
- Jack Gillis, former head of Consumer Federation of America
They are co-signers of an effusive letter in support of Ed Markey, which I’ve copied and pasted below the fold. (Quite a variety of signers — from the guitarist for Guster to former high-ranking government officials.)
Like Ed Markey himself, there’s something old-school about the experiences of this group of people, in a way that’s become current again. They came of political age in the era of the creation of the EPA, the fallout of Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at any Speed”, where it became apparent that regulations would be needed to protect consumers’ safety and to prevent ripoffs. Since then, the accomplishments of this generation have been whittled away by an anti-regulatory reactionary movement of well-heeled interests. Yet everyone who has opened a cable bill or cell phone bill and squinted at small-print charges; or whose life was saved by a seat belt (mine, probably a few times); or who has asthma from breathing dirty air — knows why we need protections, with teeth. The supposedly “free market” could cost you everything you have; and the small print of legislation is extremely consequential.
Jim Aloisi related how in 2009-10 when he was Secretary of Transportation, Markey would call him to check in on how the stimulus spending was going. As examples of Markey’s restless, innovative legislative imagination, Aloisi cited the Green New Deal; Markey’s “Brain Train” plan for intercity rail, and the Freedom to Move legislation for free public transport, introduced with Ayanna Pressley. Aloisi called the present moment a “pattern break”, with new possibilities for fundamental transformation of the status quo — with Markey as a far-sighted leader.
Ogburn called Markey an “incredible, rare legislator”, echoing Markey’s attention to details of long-term consequence in legislation, regardless of whether anyone is looking, and regardless of how much credit he gets. (In an election year, this can be a problem!) Waxman related that Markey was always “in the room where it happens”; worked in a bipartisan, explanatory manner, successfully getting people on board. (cf. Ted Kennedy’s MO, post-1980.) Gillis remarked on Markey’s ability to gain consensus without compromising core priorities. “To lose Ed Markey would be a giant step backward” for consumer protection, he said.
I asked about competition in the telecomm area: Currently the city of Worcester suffers under Charter/Spectrum’s broadband monopoly, which is indifferent to the city’s appeals to provide broadband to low-income residents, including 2200 households with kids during COVID lockdown. Waxman said that Markey was always a champion for increased competition in the telecomm arena, going back to the 1980s and early 1990s – including competition to cable TV itself. Markey has indeed tangled with Charter and the industry-captured FCC recently. Effective cable monopolies to this day are not uncommon; so there is still much work to be done, which would make Markey that much more of an important presence in a more sympathetic Democratic-controlled congress.
Here is the letter, after the fold. (It’s amusing to me how signees chose to identify themselves – Audrey Schulman simply as “environmental activist”, as opposed to “policy visionary”, etc.) And here’s the pdf of accomplishments.
July 21 ,2020
Honorable Edward Markey United States Senate Washington, D. C. 20510
Dear Senator Markey:
We are writing as national and state consumer and public interest leaders and advocates who have spent our careers advancing public health, safety, consumer and environmental protection policies in Congress, the Executive Branch, the Courts and the State of Massachusetts.
We want to thank you for your lifetime of instrumental work in Massachusetts and in the U.S. Congress, writing laws and forcing issuance of regulations for social justice, public health, safe and affordable transportation, environmental sustainability, a fair marketplace, investor protection, public access to electronic communications, public access to the courts, and personal privacy. A group of us analyzed your record and we have attached our list of your most notable achievements. In all these areas, you are one of the greatest leaders and legislators in Congress.
In addition, we appreciate your latest work advocating for healthcare as a right, for preserving the advances under the Affordable Care Act while pressing for Medicare for All, and your focus on emergency measures for families ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the cutting-edge “Green New Deal” you proposed with freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has given new hope to a generation of young activists demanding that the existential threat of the climate crisis be addressed immediately and urgently. This is a realistic plan, defined by your determination to transform our job-shrinking fossil fuel economy into a job-building renewable fuel economy.
These are just some recent examples of your advocacy of innovative solutions to deeply embedded problems regardless of the powerful, aggressive special interests that may oppose your remedies. They are evidence that you don’t wait for the political winds to change. You are always ahead of the curve. You have used your positions on key Congressional committees to develop information, acquire key allies, and reach across the aisle to get your proposals firmly embedded into law. Your work benefits not only your constituents in Massachusetts but everyone in America. There is no stronger advocate for the American people in the U. S. Senate today.
Your victories in legislation and congressional oversight far exceed those of your colleagues in Congress. You have never been a Member content simply to cosponsor the work of others or merely cast a vote. You don’t just discuss the need for change. You actually create change.
In fact, an investigation by Atlantic Magazine found that during your service in Congress, your record for getting laws passed–506 as of 2014 (and many more since)– was in the top 8 percent of all sitting senators.
This evaluation reflects a long and unmatched record of demanding action and taking it upon yourself to get the job done. Your savvy strategic skills and battle-tested leadership are desperately needed at this critical and fragile time in our nation’s history. Your stunning portfolio of progressive advances across a broad spectrum of American life span a career that tellingly began with your first race for Congress, when you defiantly declared your independence: “The bosses may tell me where to sit, but no one tells me where to stand.”
No matter how difficult the battle or how well-financed the opposition, you are fearless and faithful to your Massachusetts constituents and everyone in America. We are proud to work with you in the trenches to help make your progressive solutions the law of the land.
(Please Note: Titles for Individuals are for Identification Purposes Only and Do Not Constitute Organization Endorsements)
Jason Adkins, Plaintiffs’ Counsel, Boston Massachusetts
James Aloisi, Former Secretary of Transportation, Massachusetts
Jay Angoff, Partner, Mehri and Skalet
Barbara Anthony, Esq., Former Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, Massachusetts
Philip S. Balboni, Founder, CEO and Co-Executive Editor, Daily Chatter
Roberta Baskin, 25-year National Investigative Reporter, NBC and CBS
Dan Becker, Advocate for Clean Cars and a Safe Climate
Michael Berger, Professor of Chemistry, Simmons University, Boston, MA
Roger L. Berman, President of The Berman Company, Boston; former Chairman, Winchester Select Board
Anne Bailey Berman, Founder and Past Chair, Chadwick Martin Bailey, Boston, MA Alexandra Borns-Weil, Massachusetts Teacher and Climate Activist
Steve Brobeck, Senior Fellow and Former Executive Director, Consumer Federation of America, Ann Brown, Former Chair, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Joseph Bryan, Freight & Logistics Consultant, Massachusetts
David Burnham, Former New York Times Award Winning Investigative Reporter
Carol Caro, Executive Director, Minuteman Library Network (retired) Frank Caro, Professor Emeritus of Gerontology, UMass, Boston
Joan Claybrook, Former Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT); President, Public Citizen 1982-2009
William Corr, Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Jamie Court, President, Consumer Watchdog
Kennerly Diggs, Ph.D., Former Director of Research, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. DOT; Research Professor, George Washington University
Edward Dworksy, Founder and Editor, Consumer World
Richard DuBois, Massachusetts Attorney and Consumer Advocate, Massachusetts
Kathleen Engel, Research Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School
Robert Fellmeth, Law Professor, San Diego Law School; Director and Founder, Child Advocacy Institute
Janette Fennell, Founder and President, KidsAndCars.org
Andrew M. Fischer, Massachusetts Civil Rights Lawyer and Environmental Activist
Bert Foer, Competition Policy Advocate; Founder, Former President, American Antitrust Institute
Claire Galkowski, Recycling Professional and Climate Activist, Westwood, Massachusetts Adam Gardner, Guitarist and Vocalist of the band Guster
Pamela Gilbert, Former Executive Director, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Jacqueline Gillan, Co-Founder, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH); Safety Activist Jack Gillis, National Consumer Advocate and Author, “The Car Book”
Jim Gomes, Former President, Environmental League of Massachusetts
Nancy Goodman, Vice President for Policy, Environmental League of Massachusetts
Mark Green, First Public Advocate, New York City; Author of 24 books, most recently “Fake President”
Sally Greenberg, Consumer Advocate, Washington, D.C.
Ellen Haas, Former Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food, Nutrition, & Consumer Service; Former President, Public Voice for Food and Health Policy
David Halperin, Attorney and Public Interest Advocate
Charles Harak, Utility Lawyer and Consumer Advocate
Stephen Hartgarten, M.D., M.P.H., Emergency Physician
John Harris, Massachusetts Climate/Environmental Activist
Paul Harris, Massachusetts Environmental, Education, and Racial Equity Activist Ann Hershfang, Walk Boston
Jim Hightower, Publisher/Editor, “Lowdown”; Former Agriculture Commissioner, Texas Liz Hitchcock, Director, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
Joy Howell, Former Director of Public Affairs, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Paul S. Hudson, Air Travelers’ Rights Attorney Advocate
Daphne Izer, Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (P.A.T.T.)
Mary Jagim, Health Care Advocate
Michael Jacobson, Former Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest Georgia Katsoulimitis, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Sean Kane, President, Safety Research and Strategies, Massachusetts
William E. Kennard, Co-Founder, Astra Capital Management; Former Chair, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Gene Kimmelman, Senior Advisor, Public Knowledge
Kevin T. Knobloch, Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Energy; Former President, Union of Concerned Scientists
Wendy Landman, Walking Advocate, Massachusetts
Jon Leibowitz, Former Chair, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Don Leka, Town Meeting Member, Brookline, MA
Michael Lemov, Author; Former Chief Counsel, House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Energy & Commerce Committee
Jason Levine, Executive Director, Center for Auto Safety Carol Lohe, Library Trustee, Massachusetts
Werner Lohe, Conservation Commissioner, Massachusetts James Love, Knowledge Ecology Institute
Carol MacClennan, Professor of Anthropology, Michigan Technological University
Patricia McCoy, Professor of Law, Boston College Law School; Former Assistant Director for Mortgage Markets, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Andrew McGuire, McArthur Fellow; Executive Director, Trauma Foundation Zeyneb Magavi, Massachusetts Climate Activist
Patricia Maher, Massachusetts Nurse Practitioner
Katherine A. Meyer, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School Patricia Muldoon, Massachusetts Environmental Justice Activist
Carl Nash, Former Director of Strategic Planning and Evaluation, U.S. DOT, NHTSA
Victoria Nugent, Former Consumer Advocate, Public Citizen and Public Justice; Counsel to State Attorneys General
James F. O’Leary, Former General Manager, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
Steve Oesch, Former Chief Counsel, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Will Ogburn, Massachusetts Access to Justice Fellow
Carol Oldham, Director, Massachusetts Climate Action Network, 2015-2020 Joanne Omang, Former Reporter and Editor, Washington Post
Linda Olson Pehlke, Massachusetts Urban Planner
Michael Pertschuk, Former Chair, Federal Trade Commission (FTC); Former Chief Counsel, Senate Commerce Committee,
R. David Pittle, Ph.D., Former Commissioner, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); Consumer Advocate
Christopher Queen, PhD, Dean and Lecturer (ret), Harvard University, Climate Activist Ira Rheingold, National Association of Consumer Advocates
John Richard, Director, Center for Study of Responsive Law
Clint Richmond, Town Meeting Member, Brookline, MA
Harvey Rosenfield, Founder, Consumer Watchdog
Donald K Ross, Director, Tortuga Foundation; Founder New York Public Interest Research Group A.Joseph Ross, Massachusetts Attorney
Frederick Salvucci, Former Secretary of Transportation, Massachusetts
Kathleen Scanlon, Town Meeting Member, Brookline, MA
Audrey Schulman, Massachusetts Environmental Activist
Rosemary Shahan, President, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety
James Shannon, Former Member of Congress, MA; Former CEO, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Sam Simon, Former Director, Telecommunications Research & Action Center
Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow, Georgetown Institute for Technology, Law & Policy, Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate
Steve Skrovan, Producer, Comedian, Actor, Director, (Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond); Producer, “The Unreasonable Man” about Ralph Nader
Gerson Smoger, Environmental, Consumer and Human Rights Attorney; Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year
Emily Stein, Massachusetts Road Safety Advocate
Judie Stone, President, Safe Highways and Public Education
Stephen Teret, J.D., MPH, Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Alys Terrien-Queen, Concert Pianist; President, Wendell Massachusetts Free Library
Carol Tucker-Foreman, Former Assistant Secretary, Food and Consumer Services, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 1977-81; Distinguished Fellow, Food Policy, Consumer Federation of America
Sherry Turkle, Abby Rockefeller Mauze’ Professor of the Social Studies of Science & Technology, Program in Science, Technology and Society, MIT
David Vladeck, A.B. Chettle Professor Law, Georgetown University Law Center; Former Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Chairman Henry Waxman, Former Chair, Energy & Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives
Dan Weiss, Climate Action Advocate
Carol Wintle, Psychotherapist, Massachusetts