Rep. Edward Markey (D)
Elected: 1976, 17th full term.
Born: July 11, 1946, Malden .
Education: Boston Col., B.A. 1968, J.D. 1972.
Family: Married (Susan Blumenthal).
Military career: Army Reserves, 1968–73.
Elected office: MA House of Reps., 1973–76.
The congressman in the 7th District is Democrat Edward Markey, first elected in 1976 at age 30, and now dean of the Massachusetts House delegation. He grew up in Malden, where his father was a milkman. He went to Malden Catholic High, Boston College, and Boston College law school, then immediately to the state House, at age 26. In 1976, he ran for the U.S. House and won a 12-candidate primary with 22% of the vote; he had never been to Washington before. Now he ranks 12th in House seniority and in February 2007 became the 12th current member to have served more than half his life in Congress.
|Edward Markey (D)||212,304||(76%)||($1,021,890)|
|John Cunningham (R)||67,978||(24%)||($23,134)|
|Edward Markey (D)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (100%), 2004 (74%), 2002 (100%), 2000 (100%), 1998 (71%), 1996 (70%), 1994 (64%), 1992 (62%), 1990 (100%), 1988 (100%), 1986 (100%), 1984 (71%), 1982 (78%), 1980 (100%), 1978 (85%), 1976 (77%)
In his first years in the House, Markey made his name as a fierce opponent of nuclear power plants and in the early 1980s as a crusader for the nuclear freeze. Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill of Massachusetts put him in a position to be a serious legislator in the House from early on, and he has long since become one of the House’s most legislatively productive and creative members. With O’Neill’s help, he got a seat on the Commerce Committee. Impressed by the high-tech boom around Route 128, he joined the communications subcommittee early. Then, after only eight years in the House, he became chairman of the Energy Conservation and Power Subcommittee. After the 1986 election, with help from Chairman John Dingell of Michigan, who liked aggressive and loyal younger Democrats, Markey became chairman of the telecommunications subcommittee. This is one of the plum positions in the House, with lucrative possibilities for fundraising, and with subject matter that is intellectually more demanding (and, in lobbying terms, more fiercely contested) than almost anything else in Congress.
Markey has been an important shaper of public policy, often working with Republicans, often coming up with original initiatives, knowledgeable about the workings of the industries he oversees, and often inclined toward deregulation though he can just as often be found siding with consumers. In 1992, he shrewdly produced the cable television regulation bill on which both chambers of Congress overrode George H. W. Bush’s veto—the only bill passed over his veto in his four-year term. Markey’s influence was not greatly reduced when he became ranking minority member in 1995; bills in these areas are hard to pass without bipartisan consensus. He was a major player in the passage of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996. He has been an impetus as well behind the transition to digital television. He and Dingell pressed in 2005 to have the government pay for the converter boxes that would be required on old sets after digital television became universal in 2009. In 2007, he called on the Federal Communications Commission to regulate children’s program advertising for unhealthy foods.
On the big telecom issues during the Bush administration, Markey favored allowing regional Bell and satellite companies to compete with cable companies locally (and cable companies compete with others nationally) in providing broadband and other Internet services, but only with a “build-out” requirement that new entrants serve all video customers in a geographic area. He has been a booster of so-called “net neutrality,” which would prohibit Internet carriers from charging higher fees to big-volume users like Google and Yahoo. “If we don’t protect the openness of the Internet for entrepreneurial activity, we’re ruining a wonderful model for low-barrier entry, innovation, and job creation,” Markey says. In other issues before the subcommittee, he called for a government investigation of the effect of electronic media on children and on hearing loss from portable music players.
In 2007, when Democrats took over the House, Markey was initially the chairman of the telecommunications subcommittee on the Energy and Commerce Committee. But in 2009, he gave up that gavel to become chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, giving him increased jurisdiction over the global warming issue. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had earlier designated him to take the lead on the issue by naming him chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. (She deliberately put Markey in charge to get around Dingell, the more senior, Detroit-area congressman who did not agree with her on toughening car emission standards. Under pressure from Dingell, she announced it would not have authority to propose legislation, but she gave Markey free rein to hold hearings and travel widely—often with Pelosi—to make the case for a far-reaching bill to curb global warming.) In May 2008, Markey proposed an 85% cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, along with a cap-and-trade program that allows companies to “buy and sell” pollution emissions credits. With Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Jay Inslee of Washington, Markey separately issued a set of principles for guiding cap-and-trade legislation. Markey, working with Waxman and coal-state Democrats, crafted a sweeping climate change bill in 2009 that established a cap on greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of reducing them by 80% from 2005 levels by 2050. In June, the bill passed the House, 219-212.
For years, Markey pressed unsuccessfully for higher fuel-efficiency standards in cars and trucks and for windfall taxes on oil. He once proposed a bill to stop the favorable treatment of sports utility vehicles under the mileage standard—they’re classified as light trucks, and indeed the SUV category seems to have emerged as a response to the fuel-economy regulations. In 2007, Markey, working closely with Pelosi, proposed an increase in fuel-efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2018. The domestic auto industry and unions criticized the plan as “extreme,” and said that it would impose a far lower burden on foreign-based companies. Their allies backed a 2022 deadline and more flexible terms. Dingell’s resistance to including the provision in that year’s energy bill led to extended private negotiations with Markey, Pelosi, and others. The subsequent bill, which Bush signed, set the 35-miles-per-gallon standard for 2020, the first increase in the fuel-efficiency standards since 1975. Markey voiced regret that the Senate rejected a House-passed plan to require utilities to produce a larger share of electric power from renewable sources, but he promised to revive it.
Markey has opposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and has a bill to declare it a permanently protected wilderness area. As gasoline prices surged in 2008, he unsuccessfully urged the Bush administration to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Another area of energy policy where Markey has had a heavy hand is nuclear power. He has long been a proponent of tougher regulation, and the subject often brings out in him his gift for memorable quotes. “We have a ‘loose nuke’ problem right here at home,” he said in 2002, after 1,500 types of radioactive material had been lost in five years. That year, he called for a permanent end to the testing of nuclear weapons. He was one of the House’s leading opponents of exempting India from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act, and criticized the 2008 approval of the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation deal as a “historic mistake.” In 2009, he said that he would seek a ban on radioactive materials used in “dirty bombs.”
From his seat on the Homeland Security Committee, Markey worked effectively on air cargo security issues. He pointed out that while passenger luggage is X-rayed, commercial cargo went unscreened on passenger planes. In 2003, his amendment to require screening of all air cargo passed the House easily, but it was opposed by the Bush administration and went nowhere in the Senate. He claimed victory late in 2007 when Bush signed a bill that requires some inspection of all freight on commercial planes, though he promised to closely monitor implementation. Markey has also weighed in lustily on privacy issues. He co-sponsored a bill requiring that cell phone numbers be unpublished. The Internal Revenue Service, prompted by Markey, issued a Tax Guidance letter in 2005 requiring taxpayer consent before tax records are sent for preparation in other countries, where protections are often weaker.
Markey has long coveted a Senate seat. In 1984, he wanted to run for the seat vacated by Democrat Paul Tsongas, but lost out to then-Lt. Gov. John Kerry. Nearly two decades later, Markey came to Kerry’s aid during his presidential bid, which, if successful, could have opened a Senate seat for Markey. In 2003, when Kerry’s campaign was faltering, Kerry named Markey political adviser Mary Beth Cahill as his campaign manager, and Markey, who had already endorsed Kerry, went to work to persuade colleagues in the House not to endorse anyone, especially Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, until the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire had a chance to speak. Markey predicted, correctly, that Dean would fade and Kerry would rally to victory, and he was mostly successful in keeping House members off the Dean team. In the meantime, gearing up for a possible run for Kerry’s Senate seat, Markey spent $300,000 on ads in the Boston media market trumpeting his work against nuclear terrorism. So Markey more than commiserated with Kerry when he lost his campaign for president in 2004.