With one line in their debate last week, Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Stephen Lynch summed up perhaps the most significant difference for Cape Ann voters to consider when they choose between he and fellow Congressman Ed Markey in Tuesday’s primary, part of the special election race to gain John Kerry’s former Senate seat.
“I am with the fishermen; you are with the fish,” Lynch told Markey — and judging by both their positions and congressional voting records, he is absolutely right.
There are, of course, many other issues in play. But those who plan to cast their votes with an eye toward the survival of the fishing industry and the economic future of Gloucester and Cape Ann have a clear and simple choice: it’s Lynch, for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.
In his congressional career, Lynch has declined to march in lockstep with his fellow Democrats. Lynch is generally conservative on social matters — he is pro-life but does not support overturning Roe v. Wade — but is more liberal and pro-labor on economic issues. In that vein, one may not support Lynch on all his legislative positions. But clearly, he is a man who honestly represents the interests of the people who elect him, and in that vein, he has joined with the likes of Congressmen John Tierney, William Keating and ex-congressman Barney Frank in a push to genuinely address the plight of New England’s fishermen — a coalition from which Markey has been strikingly absent.
Markey is an 18-term congressman who was raised in Malden and — according to several accounts — had rarely been seen there since prior to launching his Senate run. He is a bitter partisan who unleashes vile attacks against opponents over who they are, rather than their positions. And for Cape Ann voters, Markey not only stands by groups like the Conservation Law Foundation and Pew Environment Group insisting there is no need for any new flexibility in fishing’s Magnuson-Stevens Act; he is a champion of so-called “ocean zoning,” a top-down Obama administration scheme that would further shut down fishing grounds and marginalize the industry more than even Obama’s NOAA had done already.