It might seem a stretch for a state representative from Gloucester to lead a push to have retired Congressman Barney Frank chosen by Gov. Deval Patrick to serve as interim senator assuming that John Kerry gains confirmation as the next Secretary of State.
Yet, the letter authored by Gloucester’s Democratic state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante — in tandem with New Bedford-based state Rep. Christopher Markey — indeed has an important context in noting what Frank would bring to the interim seat. And that includes experience that would be beneficial to Gloucester and Cape Ann.
Frank, whose exit from the House leaves a hole in the coalition of lawmakers pushing for desperately needed changes in fishery management, would give fishermen and the industry from Gloucester to New Bedford and beyond an important voice in the Senate at a critical time, when President Obama is due to bring in new nominees for both Secretary of Commerce and outgoing Jane Lubchenco’s position as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And he would no doubt work well with newly elected Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom he and Ferrante both advised on fisheries issues throughout her run past Scott Brown for the state’s other Senate seat.
Frank would hardly be a single-issue lawmaker; he would bring 32 years of congressional experience in dealing with all sorts of issues, and clearly knows the inner workings of the legislative world. But Frank would especially bring enormous credibility on fisheries, where he could work to ensure that Commerce and NOAA get the genuine infusion of new blood and direction they need. That makes his potential appointment important for Gloucester as well.
To that end, Ferrante is right to proactively push his candidacy — and, assuming the post becomes open, Gov. Patrick would do well to pick him for the job.