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April 23, 2013

Dems joust in 1st Senate debate since bombings

BOSTON — Democratic U.S. Senate hopefuls Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch clashed last night in their first debate since the Boston Marathon attacks.

Lynch began the debate by faulting Markey with not doing enough on security issues, including not voting for the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which combines the resources of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Markey responded by pointing to several measures he supported or authored that he said enhanced security, including the screening of air cargo for bombs and the screening of tankers coming into U.S. ports for nuclear materials.

Markey said he pushed for those measures over the objections of Republicans.

Asked whether the surviving suspect in the marathon bombings should be labeled an enemy combatant, Markey and Lynch both said they agreed with the decision of the Obama administration to try 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in federal court instead.

The candidates were also asked about the installation of more security cameras in urban areas and the possible effect that would have on privacy.

Markey said it was time to consider installing more security cameras, like the ones that helped the FBI in the investigation of the marathon bombing, in major urban areas like Boston.

“I do believe it is now time for us to consider more surveillance cameras. We see how helpful those surveillance cameras are,” Markey said.

But Lynch urged caution, saying cameras should only be used “in places where people would not otherwise expect a high level of privacy.”

While both candidates said they supported President Barack Obama’s gun control policies, Lynch said his own personal background could help persuade other U.S. senators to come around.

“I know what it’s like to have a family member killed by guns,” Lynch said, noting that his cousin was killed by gun violence.

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