BOSTON — In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic congressman Edward Markey has tried to take his Republican opponent’s chief criticism of him — that he’s an entrenched Washington insider — and turn it on its head.
Markey has argued that while he may not be the freshest face in Massachusetts politics, he’s served long enough in the U.S. House to know the ins and outs of Washington and can use that to the state’s advantage.
When Republican Gabriel Gomez, a businessman and former Navy SEAL, tried to portray Markey’s 36-year tenure in the House as ineffective during their first debate in the special election, he charged that Markey hadn’t authored any laws in the past two decades.
Markey, 66, quickly ticked off bills he’d worked on that were signed into law, including legislation to help those with diseases such as Parkinson’s stay at home and another designed to find a path for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
“That’s now the law. That’s my bill,” Markey said, adding that he also “passed a bill that created an on-ramp to the wireless world for the deaf and the blind in our country. And why did I do that? I did it because of the Perkins School for the Blind.”
On the campaign trail, Markey’s supporters have helped drive home the virtues of experience.
At a rally in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, Democrat Thomas Menino, the city’s longest-serving mayor, defended Markey’s long record, saying he’s helped the economic recovery.
“They criticize him for being in office so long,” Menino said, joking that “being in office a long time is a good thing.”
Longevity hasn’t been Markey’s only sales pitch in the run-up to Tuesday’s election to fill the Senate seat John Kerry vacated to become U.S. secretary of state.