By Larry DiCara
Recently my friend (and my City Councilor), Matt O’Malley penned a few words in the Gazette with respect to Joe Kennedy’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Perhaps for the first time since Matt took office, I will respectfully disagree with him.
I support Ed Markey for a host of reasons. Let me explain.
I agree that change can’t wait. There is much talk of change in these challenging days, and much of that talk is perfectly sensible and absolutely right. We need to advance a progressive policy agenda that expands opportunity, defends civil rights, protects our environment, upholds the rule of law, and strengthens our democracy, just for starters. Sometimes the scope of change we need can seem staggering, but right here in Massachusetts, the solution is blessedly simple. The single most important thing we can do in Massachusetts to advance all the progressive causes we care about is to make sure Ed Markey continues to fight hard on the floor of the United States Senate, and continues to lead with a moral compass and rare prescience that prove his extraordinary legislative record was not earned by standing by while others showed the way. In short, the best way to get change is to keep Ed Markey in the United States Senate.
Though Ed Markey is best known today as the Co-author of the Green New Deal, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we must remember two things: first, the Green New Deal goes far beyond climate change, and second, he has been leading in more ways than can be covered in an opinion piece that does not demand hours from its readers. Ed Markey helped get assault weapons off our streets. He has worked for a sustainable, innovation economy that expands opportunities for all. His laws put historic fuel economy standards in place. His work is the reason we have appliance efficiency standards. He stands up to the NRA each and every day. Long before the Green New Deal was written, he was the first to speak on a national platform about the dangers of climate change, only two years after the technology to measure climate change became available.
The Green New Deal is a beautiful document. If you haven’t read it, please do. It’s brief, clear, and provides the path for all the progressive goals we’re fighting for. It’s about climate change, but it’s also about social and economic justice. It’s about creating a sustainable, green economy that guarantees jobs with a family-sustaining wage. It’s about retirement security, and affordable, safe, adequate housing. It’s about repairing and upgrading our criminally neglected infrastructure. It’s about social justice.
Yes, change can’t wait, but the change we need requires that we keep our top talent, our leaders who know the most about leadership. Nowhere in government does experience matter more than in a legislative body, and nowhere in our government do we need the strongest response to the GOP than in the United States Senate. We will need a steady, experienced hand to take on the GOP next year, no matter how many seats Democrats win or lose. If the Democrats retake the Senate, and recent polls suggests that dream has a shot, Ed Markey’s seniority will make him even more powerful. If the Republicans hold onto their majority, we need someone with as much legislative experience as possible, who’ll know the smartest, strongest ways to fight back. Ed Markey has paid his dues, proving repeatedly that his ahead-of-the curve leadership will continue to deliver to advance progressive causes in Massachusetts, across the country, and around the world. Don’t tell me it’s time for him to go. He’s done more for Massachusetts than most of us will ever know. These are the times Ed Markey has worked for his entire life, and he’s never been in a better position to deliver. It’s time to keep Ed Markey in the United States Senate.
Lawrence S. DiCara is former President of the Boston City Council.