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On Nov. 3, Massachusetts voters will choose decide represents them in the U.S. Senate. The choice on offer is stark. On one side is Sen. Ed Markey, a seasoned public servant who has been a consistent voice in D.C. on progressive issues that Bay Staters deeply care about. On the other is challenger Kevin O’Connor, who lambastes the incumbent while offering few specifics on solutions to problems facing our state and the nation beyond adherence to the ideological ramparts of Donald Trump Republicanism. Sen. Markey is a prominent figure on the Democratic Party’s left wing and has been a strong ambassador to Capitol Hill for issues on which Massachusetts has long been a leader, such as health care reform and environmental protections. While Sen. Markey’s hallmark policies, like Medicare For All and the Green New Deal, are not on the 2020 Democratic platform, the senator’s tireless advocacy on these subjects has doubtlessly moved the needle on critical policy goals. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tack might be a bit more to the center than Sen. Markey’s, but the fact that the former vice president’s proposals include expanding the Affordable Care Act with a public option and a sweeping environmental infrastructure package is evidence of Sen. Markey moving the political ball in the right direction on these issues through his time representing Massachusetts’ values in Congress. Mr. O’Connor, however, questions this notion, believing Sen. Markey to be an “extremist,” as he labeled the incumbent at their only debate earlier this month. Sen. Markey certainly breaks to the left of the average member of his party, and reasonable people can productively disagree as to whether the ambitious prescriptions within wide-ranging plans like the Green New Deal are the best way forward. Nevertheless, what cannot be questioned is Sen. Markey’s good-faith commitment to focusing on and solving these sorts of systemic issues, as he has long proven during his congressional tenure. Mr. O’Connor, who declined to meet with The Eagle’s editorial board, has been light on substance as to his own proposals. Like the leader of his party, he spends more time lodging ideological grievance with policies than offering reasonable alternatives and better ways forward. For instance, Mr. O’Connor toes the Republican party line of supporting the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act — implicitly encouraging removal of its protections for those with pre-existing conditions seeking health insurance. Like many of his GOP peers, Mr. O’Connor qualifies his support for tanking the health care law by saying that people with pre-existing conditions must still be protected, while offering no specific plan for accomplishing this or replacing the landmark health law. While condemning Sen. Markey’s environmental policies, Mr. O’Connor offers no alternative, appearing bearish about the notion of even comprehensively addressing climate change at all. Mr. O’Connor has voiced support for legislation similar to the Dream Act to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived here as children, but has laid responsibility for the Senate’s intractability on immigration reform on Sen. Markey’s shoulders — despite the fact that the majority leader of his own party has been the one who has consistently refused to bring DACA protection legislation to a vote in the Senate. Whether the Republicans retain the Senate in the upcoming election, most Massachusetts voters would likely prefer not to send a senator to D.C. who will be another rubber-stamp vote in Mitch McConnell’s pocket. While his campaign suggests a more moderate, Trump-lite approach, Mr. O’Connor has also signaled he would be a party-line voter for Republicans. He favors retaining the Trump tax cuts in a time when the nation’s coffers will badly need revenue, and has voiced support for Mitch McConnell’s low-ball “skinny” coronavirus stimulus bill instead of the House’s more robust bill at a time when the nation is in dire need of relief. And as far as the label “extremist” goes, Bay State voters might wonder if that applies more readily to the candidate who finds President Trump’s coronavirus response to be satisfactory — or at least can’t bring himself to say otherwise. While The Eagle endorsed Joe Kennedy in the September Democratic primary, in doing so we still recognized Sen. Markey’s considerable track record of hard work as a good representative for our commonwealth in both chambers of Congress. He has long been a champion for issues that matter greatly to Massachusetts, and while his critics say the senator could perhaps spend more time here, his list of wins for Bay Staters includes some specific to the Berkshires. When the county’s residents lost access to TV station WWLP — and were instead given a channel that connected them to Albany programming and news — it was a big deal to those in the Berkshires who wanted to keep up to date on state news, Beacon Hill politics and Patriots games. It was also a big deal when Sen. Markey spoke up for his Berkshire constituents, and was part of the effort to get the station restored to county broadcasts. Massachusetts voters deserve a voice like that, who can lead in D.C. on important national issues with Bay State values while looking out for constituents at home. The Eagle endorses Ed Markey for Senate.

On Nov. 3, Massachusetts voters will decide who represents them in the U.S. Senate. The choice on offer is stark. On one side is Sen. Ed Markey, a seasoned public servant who has been a consistent voice in D.C. on progressive issues that Bay Staters deeply care about. On the other is challenger Kevin O’Connor, who lambastes the incumbent while offering few specifics on solutions to problems facing our state and the nation beyond adherence to the ideological ramparts of Donald Trump Republicanism.

Sen. Markey is a prominent figure on the Democratic Party’s left wing and has been a strong ambassador to Capitol Hill for issues on which Massachusetts has long been a leader, such as health care reform and environmental protections. While Sen. Markey’s hallmark policies, like “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal, are not on the 2020 Democratic platform, the senator’s tireless advocacy on these subjects has doubtlessly moved the needle on critical policy goals. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s tack might be a bit more to the center than Sen. Markey’s, but the fact that the former vice president’s proposals include expanding the Affordable Care Act with a public option and a sweeping environmental infrastructure package is evidence of Sen. Markey moving the political ball in the right direction on these issues through his time representing Massachusetts’ values in Congress.

Mr. O’Connor, however, questions this notion, believing Sen. Markey to be an “extremist,” as he labeled the incumbent at their only debate earlier this month. Sen. Markey certainly breaks to the left of the average member of his party, and reasonable people can productively disagree as to whether the ambitious prescriptions within wide-ranging plans like the Green New Deal are the best way forward. Nevertheless, what cannot be questioned is Sen. Markey’s good-faith commitment to focusing on and solving these sorts of systemic issues, as he has long proved during his congressional tenure.

Mr. O’Connor, who declined to meet with The Eagle’s editorial board, has been light on substance as to his own proposals. Like the leader of his party, he spends more time lodging ideological grievance with policies than offering reasonable alternatives and better ways forward. For instance, Mr. O’Connor toes the Republican Party line of supporting the legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act — implicitly encouraging removal of its protections for those with preexisting conditions seeking health insurance. Like many of his GOP peers, Mr. O’Connor qualifies his support for tanking the health care law by saying that people with preexisting conditions must still be protected, while offering no specific plan for accomplishing this or replacing the landmark health law. While condemning Sen. Markey’s environmental policies, Mr. O’Connor offers no alternative, appearing bearish about the notion of even comprehensively addressing climate change at all.

Mr. O’Connor has voiced support for legislation similar to the Dream Act to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived here as children, but has laid responsibility for the Senate’s intractability on immigration reform on Sen. Markey’s shoulders — despite the fact that the majority leader of his own party has been the one who has consistently refused to bring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protection legislation to a vote in the Senate. Whether the Republicans retain the Senate in the upcoming election, most Massachusetts voters would likely prefer not to send a senator to D.C. who will be another rubber-stamp vote in Mitch McConnell’s pocket.

While his campaign suggests a more moderate, Trump-lite approach, Mr. O’Connor has also signaled he would be a party-line voter for Republicans. He favors retaining the Trump tax cuts in a time when the nation’s coffers will badly need revenue, and has voiced support for Sen. McConnell’s low-ball “skinny” coronavirus stimulus bill instead of the House’s more robust bill at a time when the nation is in dire need of relief. And as far as the label “extremist” goes, Bay State voters might wonder if that applies more readily to the candidate who finds President Trump’s coronavirus response to be satisfactory — or at least can’t bring himself to say otherwise.

While The Eagle endorsed Joe Kennedy in the September Democratic primary, in doing so we still recognized Sen. Markey’s considerable track record of hard work as a good representative for our commonwealth in both chambers of Congress. He has long been a champion for issues that matter greatly to Massachusetts, and while his critics say the senator could perhaps spend more time here, his list of wins for Bay Staters includes some specific to the Berkshires. When the county’s residents lost access to TV station WWLP — and were instead given a channel that connected them to Albany programming and news — it was a big deal to those in the Berkshires who wanted to keep up to date on state news, Beacon Hill politics and Patriots games. It was also a big deal when Sen. Markey spoke up for his Berkshire constituents, and was part of the effort to get the station restored to county broadcasts.

Massachusetts voters deserve a voice like that, who can lead in D.C. on important national issues with Bay State values while looking out for constituents at home.

The Eagle endorses Ed Markey for Senate.


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