SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 31, 2012

Our view: Brown for U.S. Senate


The Salem News

---- — In January 2010, in the closing days of the landmark race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, we endorsed then-state Sen. Scott Brown as a means of bringing effective, bipartisan change.

We expressed the hope that Brown could reach across the aisle and work with Democratic lawmakers. We urged him not only to stand up to the spending-mad policies of the Democratic left wing, but to ignore the divisive tactics of the hard-line Republican right. In that vein, we hoped he would strive to be a true catalyst for bringing reform and a forward course for a Congress that had seemingly lost its way.

Nearly three years later, our scorecard shows that Brown has heeded all of those calls and, in some cases, taken them a step or two beyond what anyone could have hoped. Despite the questionable claims about his positions by his challenger, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, it is clear that he has fought for Massachusetts workers and taxpayers alike — and that he will continue to do so. That’s why Scott Brown is our clear choice to be re-elected to his U.S. Senate seat when voters go to the polls Nov. 6.

There are numerous reasons why voters should question many of Warren’s claims and credibility. But there’s no need to dwell on her occasional claims of Native American heritage on job applications without documented proof of that ancestry — or her claim of fighting for workers in asbestos litigation when she was actually working for insurance giant Travelers. And there should be no need to even acknowledge Warren’s false advertising claims that suggest Brown is against women’s reproductive choice, or against bringing in jobs for Massachusetts residents. He’s none of those things. Simply put, a vote for Warren would be a vote in support of the ultraliberal tax-and-spend crowd in the Senate.

Voters should indeed return Brown to the Senate because of what he has done, and for what he is still striving to do over the next six years.

Brown wasn’t in Washington long, for example, before he noticed politicians rake in a lot of money trading in stocks and other financial instruments whose value is influenced by the legislation they enact. (Funny how that happens despite the blind trusts and conflict-of-interest laws that are supposed to inhibit legislators from growing wealthy during their time in office.)

Brown took action, crafting legislation to end insider trading by members and employees of Congress. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in April.

And it is worth repeating that Brown has been consistently supportive of legislation supporting women and protecting their rights. Brown broke with most Republicans to support the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act and to oppose the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Brown is pro-choice and has called on Republican leaders to be more inclusive on abortion rights.

Locally, Brown has been a strong supporter of the fishing industry, working to get both justice and accountability for Cape Ann and North Shore fishermen, each of whom represents a struggling small business.

Brown has also shown strong opposition to the 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices meant to help pay for Obamacare, a tax that threatens to cripple growth at the state’s 400 medical device manufacturers.

Have some Brown votes raised questions? Of course. Sixteen times, Brown voted against a measure that would have extended unemployment benefits for jobless workers. But that’s because — like many Senate and other legislative tricks — the proposal was tacked onto a federal jobs bill that would have funneled money to states, cities and towns to boost their own public sector workforces, not invest in the kind of private jobs expansion that’s still needed.

Brown has been an effective, bipartisan senator in his short time in office. Let’s send his independent voice back to Washington to serve Massachusetts for a full term.