State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, left, Mayor Thomas Bernard and Mayor Linda Tyer come out in support of Senator Markey.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state's junior senator pledged on Saturday to stand with the Berkshires for another six years — if they continue to stand by him.
U.S. Sen. Edwardy Markey had announced last year that he would be running for a second term representing the Bay State. His stop at Dottie's Coffee Lounge on Saturday morning hosted by the Berkshire Brigades follows a similar visit a few weeks ago by U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III — the day after he declared his intent to primary Markey.
"I'm going to fight every single day for the principles that you believe in," the Democrat told the morning crowd with state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and the mayors of both cities, Linda Tyer and Thomas Bernard, standing beside him. "I'm going to stand up against those interests that you have wanted me to stand up against."
Farley-Bouvier introduced the senator, saying she had at first been a bit frustrated that yet another individual from eastern Massachusetts who would forget about the Berkshires was being sent to the Senate. But local Democrats now remember how the tall man in a suit and dress shoes had trotted alongside nearly 2,000 people who marched in the frigid cold for the "Four Freedoms" back in January 2017.
"And on that day, I will never forget these words they, echo through my mind: Senator Markey said let it be known throughout the land, that here in Berkshire County, the resistance has started," Farley-Bouvier said.
The senator has their back, she said, and shares their values on climate change and pocket book issues, and is working to change federal law so the Berkshires can get Massachusetts television stations. She and both mayors say Markey has been a voice for them in education, economic and workforce development, broadband and other issues important to the Berkshires.
"He cares about the people of Pittsfield and the Berkshires," said Tyer. "We need to walk with him now as he seeks re-election to the Senate. It is more important, more now than ever, that we have a strong voice in the Senate representing us here in Massachusetts, and the values across this country as part of the resistance that he started when he came here and walked with us for the 'Four Freedoms.'"
Bernard also picked up the theme of walking together, noting that the former chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has been walking with them on climate change and climate resiliency since the 1980s.
"You've been walking with us on education, you've been walking with us on economic and workforce development. You understand why those are the critical, critical drivers first of the economy and the redefinition and the rebuilding of the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts of the commonwealth and the nation," Bernard said.
Markey said Massachusetts — and the Berkshires — have been revolutionary leaders for progressive actions ranging from abolitionists and suffragists to the origins of the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage.
He announced himself a supporter for Medicare for all and pointed to his co-sponsorship with New York's U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal, which he says is a necessity for survival and which will result in "massive job creation."
"Our own scientists said last year, that if we continue with business as usual, that could be upwards of a 9 degree warming of the planet ... by the year 2100. They also say that if that worst-case scenario unfolds, business as usual, that we could see a 10-foot rise in the sea by the year 2100 as well, with catastrophic consequences. So from my perspective, failure is not an option," he said. "We must be the leaders. Massachusetts isn't just the Bay State, we're the 'brain state.' We know we can do this, we know that we can transform our energy sector and simultaneously create an increase in the employment and the job creation, and the GDP of our state and our country."
He also garnered applause by stating unequivically that "Donald Trump, right now, should resign." He described the president as a "wholly owned subsidiary of the NRA" that he is soliciting for help in his looming impeachment.
"I'm going to continue to fight to make sure that NRA stands for 'not relevant anymore' in America," Markey said. He later added, "Donald Trump is the worst president that we have ever had. And on every day, seven days a week, I get up to fight him. And I'm going to continue that, as long as the people of Massachusetts give me the honor of representing them."
A number of Democrats at the gathering were shaking their heads over Kennedy's decision to primary the veteran legislator. Kennedy, the grandson of former U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, has been representing the 4th District since 2012. The 39-year-old is positioning himself as someone with new ideas and new perspectives.
Markey, first elected to the House in 1976, scoffs at that idea. Millennial politician Ocasio-Cortez described him as "the generational change that the country has been waiting for," the 73-year-old says.
"On the big issues of health care, Green New Deal, gun control, I have been leading and I will continue to lead," Markey said. "This is the most energized I've ever been in my entire political life."
Still, a primary is causing the consternation among local Democrats who say the attention, time and money could be better spent in 2020 on defending and supporting Democrats elsewhere — not on safe seats in Massachusetts.
In Pittsfield, Kennedy was introduced by state Sen. Adam Hinds, whom Kennedy had endorsed three years before.
"There's really no policy space between Joe Kennedy and Ed Markey, that the whole argument of Joe Kennedy's candidacy is it is his time, that it's time to have somebody 39 years old to replace somebody who's 73," said James Mahon, of the Williamstown Democratic Committee and a Brigades member. "Well, but I don't see any sign Ed Markey is flagging or aging or out of energy or out of gas or anything like that."
Markey, meanwhile, feels his record over the past 40 years speaks for itself.
"I'm going to run on my record. And I feel that the progressive community out here in the Berkshires is being matched by progressive communities all across the state, who are standing up for me ... ," he said. "I'm ready to continue to explain to all the people of Massachusetts those issues that I am going to fight for, not because it's new, but because I'm doing it right now, on every one of the issues all on the floor of the United States Senate."
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