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Long-term US Rep Markey offers experience, vision

Louis Elisa | 4/17/2013, 8:22 a.m.

Elected leaders in Washington often lose track of what it takes for people to achieve the American dream. Community residents need a leader in the Senate they can rely on to work to expand opportunities across the state for people to prosper.

Rep. Edward D. Markey has worked for decades in Congress for his constituents in Massachusetts, and now he is running to continue that effort in the U.S. Senate. Indeed, there are numerous issues that need congressional attention.

One that is prominent in the news today is the rampant gun violence that threatens our communities and makes our neighborhoods and schools less safe. Rep. Markey has long opposed assault weapons in the hands of private citizens. They are weapons of war, designed to destroy the enemy. All Americans must prevent such weapons from harming our kids.

Rep. Markey came to the issue way before the massacre of school kids in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. With an awareness of the imminent danger to innocent citizens, he worked with the Clinton administration in the 1990s to get those weapons off the streets.

A major problem for the Massachusetts economy is the crippling effect of the so-called sequester. Just when our economy is finally showing signs of recovery, sequestration puts 60,000 jobs at risk in Massachusetts this year.

The sequester has happened because the Republicans in Congress have refused to negotiate with President Obama on a sensible budget. As a result, we were hit with across-the-board mindless cuts. It cut $10.7 million in Title I education funding in Massachusetts this year. That means as many as 155 educators could lose their jobs and as many as 16,500 students could miss out on critical educational opportunities.

Rep. Markey voted against the sequester, and that is one of the reasons that I support him for the U.S. Senate. Instead of mindless cuts, he put forward a budget proposal that cuts tax loopholes for big corporations and cracks down on offshore tax evasion. Doing so, we’ll save $1 trillion over 10 years.

Rep. Markey’s proposal also eliminates tax subsidies to oil companies. That will save $40 billion over 10 years. He supports smart, targeted cuts to eliminate defense programs that are no longer necessary. The savings should fund the Medicare proposals in President Obama’s health reform law.

The economy has been recovering under President Obama, and Rep. Markey plans to join in efforts to spark even greater economic growth. He finds it unacceptable that the recovery should lag among African Americans and Hispanics. Rep. Markey has a three-pronged strategy to help everyone realize the American dream. He plans to continue support for:

1.    Small business innovation research (SBIR) grants to help minority-owned businesses, which amounted to $570 million in Massachusetts in the last four years;

2.    Projects to improve roads and bridges to put people back to work immediately; and

3.    Investment in innovation and technology to create opportunities for teachers, entrepreneurs, scientists and workers.

My support of Markey has endured the test of time. Back in the 1970s, he stood against the leaders of his party to establish a state senatorial district from which an African American could be elected. Since then, his record on issues of race and equality have remained consistent and correct. We can be assured that racial minorities will be able to rely on Markey when he joins the U.S. Senate.


Louis Elisa is the former president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP.