Why I Am With Ed [SOUTHCOAST VOICES]
THIS GUEST OPINION PIECE BY: Chris Hendricks, a Democrat, is the State Representative for the 11th Bristol District, representing Acushnet and New Bedford.
When I endorsed Senator Ed Markey for re-election in August of 2019, I did so mainly because of one reason: his record on climate issues. Today, that list of reasons has grown exponentially as Ed has proven himself a true leader for the SouthCoast.
Since the Reagan administration, Ed has led the effort to bring meaningful policy change to mitigate the effects of our warming planet. His work as a young congressman resulted in reduced greenhouse gas emissions nationwide, directly benefiting middle-class and low-income communities. When President George W. Bush refused to take climate change seriously, it was Ed who pressed the administration to take action. The Speaker of the House at the time referred to Ed's knowledge on climate policy as "dazzling" and his work resulted in better fuel-economy standards and more electric vehicles.
As the Senate co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, Ed understands that we have a unique opportunity to kick-start an entirely new labor market here in Massachusetts. Ed's vision sees a renewable energy industry that "creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition." The SouthCoast is the center hub for renewable energy jobs, more than any other part of the Commonwealth, and Ed's continued leadership in the Senate will allow us to fully realize that.
And since my endorsement one year ago, Ed has proven himself more of a leader than ever, especially for the SouthCoast. This year, Ed secured a $20 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the procurement of Atlantic seafood as part of the federal coronavirus response, which will directly benefit our fishermen, the New Bedford waterfront businesses, and the workers therein. This USDA program typically ignored east coast seafood as part of its efforts, but Ed Markey changed that. Now, this money will allow New Bedford and SouthCoast businesses to stay afloat during these uncertain times.
Ed also worked to secure $28 million for Massachusetts in fisheries aid under the CARES Act. This money will provide yet another direct boost to New Bedford and the SouthCoast. Commercial fishing businesses, seafood wholesalers and processors, among others, will all be eligible for this money which will, in turn, benefit area families and individuals on a tangible level, especially those fishermen living in Acushnet and other surrounding towns. Ed got this done and we are better off for it.
The entire port of New Bedford is also stronger because of Ed Markey. In 2018, he secured $15.4 million to update and improve the port's infrastructure. This will help us expand the port to allow more activity, while also helping to remove harmful chemicals, which is necessary for a safe and prosperous port, as well as the health and safety of our communities, which I prioritize above all else.
Since being sworn in as State Representative last year, I have fought against the Parallel Products expansion in the North End of New Bedford, as well as the modification of the P.J. Keating quarry in Acushnet. I oppose these actions because it would detrimentally affect the well-being of area residents and I absolutely refuse to let the health and safety of our community take a backseat to increased corporate profits that benefit out-of-town owners. Ed has taken a similar stance on environmental issues in Washington. He understands what it means to fight for environmental justice for his community. He is an example for all of us.
Supporting Ed in this race was an easy decision back in 2019, and an even easier one now, given the way he is fighting for our region during the coronavirus. His leadership and vision are tailor-made for New Bedford and the SouthCoast as we are on the cusp of a gargantuan renewable energy boom that will put us right in the middle of it all. Ed Markey will get us there.
I am proud to endorse Ed for re-election to the United States Senate and I am proud of him for the work he has done for us. I hope you can join me in keeping Ed Markey in the United States Senate in the September 1 Democratic Primary.
State Representative Chris Hendricks
Acushnet and New Bedford
Editor's Note: 'SouthCoast Voices' is a series of guest blogs from newsmakers across the region, on relevant issues that directly impact the people of Greater New Bedford and the surrounding communities. The opinions are solely those of the author. If you are interested in contributing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.