Markey vs. Who?
Opponent Seeks to Raise Issues
By Kelsey Hopper
BU News Service
Little-known Republican selectman, Brian Herr from Hopkinton, Mass., is challenging incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ed Markey.
Friday, October 17 brought the first and only debate between the two candidates, and despite televised coverage of the debate on New England Cable News, this year’s contest for the Massachusetts Senate seat is generating little buzz.
“He has done 15 pieces of legislation over 38 years,” said Herr by phone criticizing Markey. “So what has Senator Markey been doing to help move our economy forward? He talks a good game.”
“He is not known for being an active, aggressive, strong leader in Washington, D.C. He is known to sit down on the bus in the passenger seat and hang out and go along for the ride. I want to get on the bus and drive it,” said Herr.
Despite Herr’s criticism, recent polling data from The Boston Herald shows Markey receiving about 49 percent of the vote and Herr 34 percent.
Sen. Markey served 37 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before he was elected to the Senate in a special election in June 2013. This time around Markey is seeking a full six-year term.
Herr has portrayed himself as an outsider to Washington politics and believes the key to putting America “back on track” is to elect leaders like himself with backgrounds in the private sector.
“Our elected officials think they do their job when they yell at the other side, yet none of the problems of our country are being solved right now,” said Herr. “That’s not how we move things forward, that’s not leadership.”
“We need to get people down in Washington, D.C., that are not obsessed with party politics, but rather who are obsessed with getting the job done and who are obsessed with moving
Massachusetts and America forward.”
Herr brings plenty of energy to the campaign despite limited statewide name recognition and campaign funds. According to OpenSecrets, in the pending election cycle Markey has raised more than $17.5 million, while Herr has raised just over $56,000.
Despite the low amount that Herr has raised – reports say that he has just $5,000 left in his campaign account – he continues to run his election campaign for the senate seat since he won the convention in March.
“I’ve been at this for 11 months now. I’ve been all over the state to over 116 cities and towns while spending significant time in each place I go talking to voters and listening to voters,” said Herr.
Herr has crisscrossed the state to meet with voters to promote his plan to improve the economy and create jobs.
Herr was recently out on the campaign trail trying to build momentum for his campaign as Election Day approached. One Saturday Herr visited Westford, Shrewsbury, and Ipswich. On Sunday he was in Dracut, Westborough, Hanson and Sherborn.
His issues: create jobs and grow the economy. If elected to the Senate Herr would repeal the Affordable Care Act and re-direct control back to the states. Like many Republicans in the state Herr is fiscally conservative and liberal on social issues including supporting abortion and gay marriage as an issue of legal rights.
In regard to the Second Amendment Herr said, “I believe people have a right to own and bear arms as laid out in the United States Constitution. I do not believe that right is absolute. That right does not apply to all technology and that right is something that we need to have a civil discussion and debate about in America if we are going to keep our kids safe.”
In their debate, Herr tussled with Markey on issues ranging from immigration reform to the economy and jobs to the threat of ebola and ISIS. Herr strongly advocates for a travel ban on routine travelers to combat the ebola virus.
“I just want to manage the process,” said Herr. “ When you are in business for 30 years like I have been you are taught at an early age that you manage the process, that you manage the situation. You don’t let the situation manage you. I think that happens all too often in Washington, D.C., today. It happened with ISIS and now I think it is happening with ebola.”
Herr outlined issues he would focus on: reinvesting in America through investing in medical research to create jobs and an economy, finding more efficient and renewable forms of energy, and investing in the infrastructure of America.
Herr has run the Boston Marathon 25 times, and is founder and former chairman of the Dana-Farber Boston Marathon Challenge. According to Herr his team has raised $69 million over the 25-year period.
Herr is a family man. He is one of seven children, his parents emigrated from Ireland, and he is married with five children. When asked what he will be doing on Election Day Herr said: “Thanking the voters of Massachusetts for their support. Thanking the voters of Massachusetts for electing me to be their next United States senator and reaffirming to them that I will go to represent them in Washington, D.C.m always with dignity and respect for them and the process.”