Warren, Markey, Keating Fight For Rich Casino Investors Over Brockton [OPINION]
When Senators Liz Warren and Ed Markey aren't busy ignoring the beleaguered New Bedford fishing industry, they are putting the squeeze on the economically challenged city of Brockton.
The Washington Times says Brockton Mayor William Carpenter was in D.C. this week, lobbying against legislation that would override a federal judge's decision to block the Mashpee Wampanoag's plan for a casino in Taunton. The court ruled that the tribe did not meet the requirements under the law for having land placed into federal trust for a casino.
Fears that the Mashpee might someday win federal approval for their project has prevented the Massachusetts Gaming Commission from awarding a commercial casino license in southeastern Massachusetts. Brockton's proposal for a casino at the fairgrounds was rejected by the state for that reason but, the struggling city has asked the Commission to reconsider. New Bedford's aspirations for being a casino host community were dashed for the same reason.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reaffirmation Act has been introduced in both chambers of Congress, in an effort to overrule the judge's decision by changing the law to allow the tribe to place land for a Taunton casino into federal trust, thus blocking Brockton from obtaining a commercial license.
Guess who is leading the charge against Brockton?
The House bill was introduced by Congressman Bill Keating and the Senate version by Senators Markey and Warren. Democrats all.
The Times says Markey and Warren's bill "is reportedly being lobbied by the Genting Group, which has already poured $400 million into the tribe’s First Light Resort and Casino project – but could lose it all if the federal government fails to grant the land to the tribe." The Brockton Enterprise says 18 lawmakers in the House have signed on to Keating's bill while no one has endorsed the Markey-Warren effort in the Senate.
Adoption of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reaffirmation Act would kill any chance Brockton has of securing a commercial casino license and the economic boost a casino would deliver to the city.
Mayor Carpenter tells the Times he cannot understand why Keating, Warren, and Markey would be lobbying in favor of an investment firm and against his city.
"Year after year we’re running multimillion-dollar deficits in our budget. We’ve laid off schoolteachers for three years in a row. We desperately need the revenue," he said.
Damn good question Mayor Carpenter. Why would Markey, Warren and Keating be backing legislation that would benefit an investment group rather than working to ensure brighter economic times for the city of Brockton?
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.