SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

July 3, 2013

Letter: Markey's priorities do not bode well for the state

To the editor:

The opening salvo of senatorial gridlock was delivered by U.S. Senator-elect Markey fresh off of his victory for the special election last week 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,” Markey said. “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, which 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 a compromise resolution just announced last week by the state Legislature that will help close a projected $118 million deficit facing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The compromise eliminates the need for fare hikes and service cuts in the transit system.

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