GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 8, 2013

Ferrante pushes Frank for interim Senate role

Retired Congressman Barney Frank’s unabashed campaign for the gubernatorial appointment as interim U.S. senator gathered momentum Monday, with a push from a Gloucester representative.

In a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick, two Democratic state reps — Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester and Christopher Markey of New Bedford —urged the governor to pick Frank to fill Sen. John Kerry’s seat on an interim basis, assuming Kerry is confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of State to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her resignation is expected soon after the second inauguration of President Obama on Jan 21.

Ferrante also said she expected more support from among her State House colleagues for Frank’s appointment but did not want to delay the release of the letter, which echoes the sentiments of newly minted Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren was quoted in Sunday’s Boston Herald as saying, “If he is appointed to be a senator, I have no doubt he will be extraordinary.”

Frank and Ferrante both advised Warren on fisheries issues in her victorious campaign last November. Christopher Markey, a former assistant district attorney, also worked closely with Frank, the acknowledged champion of fishermen along the East Coast. Frank represented the city of New Bedford from his seat in Congress from 1981 until last week, when he walked away from a reconfigured district that would have left him only a slice of New Bedford.

A day later he told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough that he’d like the opportunity to fill in for Kerry until a special election is held, which in Massachusetts must be between 145 and 160 days after a seat is vacated.

”It’s about being ready instantaneously in three months,” Frank said in a Monday telephone interview with the Times.

Frank campaigned hard for Warren, but he also worked closely with now former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown on fisheries issues and — together with fellow Democratic Congressman John Tierney, who represents Cape Ann — led an insurgency against the fisheries policies of Jane Lubchenco, who was put in charge of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by President Obama in 2009 and is stepping down next month.

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