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Markey Touts Progressive History In Pittsfield Campaign Stop

A white man in a white shirt and khakis stands behind a podium in a park in front of a large campaign bus and a woman in a dress
Josh Landes
Senator Ed Markey (R) and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer in Park Square on July 31st, 2020.

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey campaigned in Berkshire County Friday as he looks to defend his seat against Congressman Joe Kennedy in the September 1st Democratic primary.

Between stops in Great Barrington and North Adams, Markey addressed a modest crowd in downtown Pittsfield’s Park Square Friday afternoon, highlighting his work on progressive policies like the Green New Deal.

“The same thing is true for Medicare For All – Bernie and I, we introduced it back in 2017," said the senator. "And it was called just as socialistic as the Green New Deal was. Well, both the Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, they anticipated where we are in our country right now. Where we are in terms of the need for the kinds of programs that are going to create jobs and protect the public.”

This week, a Boston Globe article identified Markey as the Massachusetts congressional delegate who spends the least amount of time in the state – a criticism his opponent Kennedy has lodged against him over the campaign, and one shared by a pickup truck that circled the park with a sign reading “Ed, Release Your Travel Records.” The senator defended his record to reporters after his speech.

“Because I do the work!" said Markey. "I work hard in Washington to get the laws passed in order to be able to take care of guns on the street, to take care of the climate, to make sure the laws get passed. And then I come home, and then I come home to make sure that I’m here for the people in the state. So that’s your job – your job is to legislate, your job is to get it done. And that’s why I’m at the top of the list of all senators and House members with total numbers of bills that are laws in our country.”

Since taking office after winning a special election in 2013, Markey has had 27 bills passed into law.

Markey served in the House from 1976 to 2013, when he jumped to the Senate. He was asked about the Kennedy campaign describing him as an establishment figure. Markey again pointed to policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare For All as evidence of his desire for fundamental change in American politics.

“That’s who I am!" he said. "Actually, that’s what 2020 is all about. Are we going to give the people in this country the fundamental change which they’re looking for, and that’s what I’ve done throughout my whole career, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do in the future. And that’s why I’m so proud of the Boston Globe’s endorsement. It talked about the change which needs to be created in our country. It basically said it’s not the age of the candidate, it’s the age of the ideas of the candidate. And in this race, it’s those ideas that are rallying people to my side all across the commonwealth.”

Markey, 74, faces a generational battle against the 39-year-old Kennedy.

The senator also shared his views on the controversial EPA-mediated cleanup plan between corporate polluter General Electric and communities along the Housatonic River. As he answered, a protester holding a “No Dump In Lee” sign – a reference to the new landfill for toxic materials the plan calls for – attempted to interrupt him.

“The boards of selectman out here are the ones that negotiated that deal in the interest of their communities,” began the senator.

“Senator Markey,” began the protester.

“My job – excuse me,” continued Markey. “My job is to make sure that we hold GE’s feet to the fire, that they do the job and in the years ahead that we do an even better job to make sure that we continue the progress. So from my perspective, that’s how I see my job.”

Local pro-Markey speakers included Mayor Linda Tyer, State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Shirley Edgerton, City Councilor Patrick Kavey, and Auric Enchill.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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