Editorial: Ed Markey has earned re-election to US Senate

Sen. Markey (AP image)

Competitive elections— including intra-party contests — are an essential part of democracy. Incumbents who coast for too long without a challenge can get stale, complacent. That’s not good for their constituents or their own careers.

So the fierce contest that’s afoot for one of two Massachusetts seats in the US Senate is — on its face, at least— a healthy exercise. Ed Markey won the office in 2013 after a long tenure in the US House representing Malden, his hometown, and surrounding cities and towns. In our view, Senator Markey has served with distinction and has not been one to rest on his laurels. He can point to an impressive legislative record.

But no one is entitled to an office in this republic. We’re grateful, then, to Congressman Kennedy— along with two other candidates, Steve Pemberton and Shannon Liss-Reardon, who have since left the race. They have put Markey through his paces and, throughout the process, many people in the Commonwealth who might otherwise have taken Markey’s long track record of accomplishment for granted can come to appreciate his work and seize upon the promise that lies ahead.

The Reporter enthusiastically endorses Ed Markey for re-election on Tues., Sept. 1— or sooner, if you choose to vote early—because we believe he has earned it. In particular, because he has been a visionary leader on environmental justice and a trusted ally on defending immigrants from the unprecedented assault on civil liberties accelerated by the Trump regime.

This week, we asked state Rep. Liz Miranda of the Dorchester delegation who she was backing in the Senate contest. “Easy,” Rep. Miranda responded with no hesitation. “Markey.” Part of her calculus is loyalty, she acknowledged. Markey was the only person in higher office “who came to visit Dorchester when my office was on Bowdoin Street, who campaigned with me.”

But Rep. Miranda — who is unopposed in this election cycle— said that it’s Markey’s stellar staff and his own passion for transforming the nation’s economy and combating climate change through Green New Deal legislation— which he has co-authored with New York City Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez— that have truly set him apart.

“He’s an environmental justice champion,” Rep. Miranda said. Plus: “For the last 18 months, his staff has basically unilaterally handled almost every immigrant issue that I’ve faced.” She added: “That means a lot. Someone who has been working on the issues that I care about long before they are running another race.”

Rep. Miranda’s not alone in that critique. Full disclosure: My wife is former state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. Her office— like Rep. Miranda’s — was constantly sought out by people well beyond her Boston district looking for relief for immigration-related issues. Her “go-to” office at the federal level was Markey’s; he could be counted on to follow through for their constituents.

The 74-year-old Markey was also a mentor of sorts to Linda. They share a common backstory: raised by hard-working parents in a blue-collar, largely immigrant neighborhood, BC-educated and Jesuit informed. Often, it was Markey who would seek out Linda’s opinion and counsel.

Next year, we hope with your vote that Sen. Markey will be sworn-in again to cap off an exemplary legislative career with the dual advantages of a Biden-Harris White House and a Democrat-controlled national legislature. This new progressive alliance, guided by his seasoned hand as a veteran lawmaker, can propel the Green New Deal into reality.

Ed Markey has labored mightily, and sometimes in lonely fashion, to bring us to this landmark moment. We hope our neighbors and the majority of our fellow voters will join us in voting to send him back to finish the job.

- Bill Forry