NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 9, 2013

Markey's priorities don't portend well for state

The opening salvo of senatorial gridlock was delivered by Senator-elect Ed Markey fresh off his victory for the special election with this declaration relative to the gun-control issue.

“I realize that it’s not easy. It’s going to take an ongoing effort over some time, but I am not going to give up on the issue. I have been working on this (issue) for over 20 years and I am going to continue to do so until we have ultimate success.” I read this with great disappointment despite my earnest desire to see progress in our Massachusetts delegation where compromise to move things along would be the hallmark of new leadership.

The ban on assault weapons is a vital topic for our nation but the senator–elect needs to decide if he will expand on background checks as enumerated in the Munchin-Toomey bill that incredulously he stated he would have supported, or just skirt that requirement and move only to the clamp-down idea of an all-out ban. The contradiction and feigned attempt to straddle the issue to try to please everyone is not indicative of quality leadership. In effect before the senator-elect even reaches Washington for a swearing-in, he has thrown the gauntlet on the floor on this issue and compromise does not appear to be an option.

In another matter Markey appears to embark with unilateral zeal on an issue that ignores significant progress made at both the federal and state levels. In his list of priorities he cited the need to pass legislation that would “ … put Bay State citizens to work building roads, bridges and tunnels.” I think the senator-elect has missed the point that we don’t need to build “more,” but rather, we need to fix the crumbling infrastructure we now have. And this assertion smacks in the face of a compromised resolution just announced by a six-member conference committee at Beacon Hill that led to the House and Senate passing versions of a bill that will help close a projected $118 million deficit facing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in fiscal 2014, which started July 1. The compromise eliminates the need for fare hikes and service cuts in the transit system.

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