Recently, El Mundo Boston had the opportunity to ask a series of questions to Ed Markey, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. These, we guarantee, are questions you won’t hear asked in any of the televised debates.
What makes you the candidate that can best represent in Washington the issues that matter to the Latino community in Massachusetts?
I am very proud of my campaign’s Latino outreach program – Unidos Con Markey. Last weekend I hosted a major Latino roundtable in Boston, and I am proud to have the support of Latino leaders such as State Rep. Marcos Devers, State Senator Sonia Chiang-Diaz, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. At all of the events the campaign has held with the Latino community, they’ve told me they want a Senator who will help pass comprehensive immigration reform, who will fight to make sure our education system provides the skill set for all children to succeed, and that we break down the discriminatory barriers that prevent people from the American dream. I plan to continue reaching out to the Latino community and know their voice and vote is critical in this election.
What are the most important issues in the near future that you believe the US Senate will be involved in that will DIRECTLY impact Latinos in particular?
As the son of Irish immigrants, I know all to well the struggle immigrant families can face. That is why I want to be leader on comprehensive immigration reform as your next U.S. Senator. Our current system is broken and we need to work on a solution. The next U.S. Senator will be voting on comprehensive immigration reform and we will need to understand the importance of laying out a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals, encouraging immigrants who were educated here to innovate here and fully supporting the DREAM Act.
We know that people of color, particularly Latinos, are disproportionately impacted by gun violence. That is why I have stood up to the NRA, and will fight for tougher gun laws in the Senate. We need to create commonsense background checks, limit assault weapons and ban high capacity magazine clips.
One of the proudest moments of my career was supporting President Barrack Obama healthcare reform. I know that Latinos suffer disproportionately from hypertension and diabetes. Obamacare helps to ensure that all Latinos, from our children to our seniors, can have access to quality healthcare.
For many Latino seniors, social security is there only income. I am committed to protecting our social safety nets so that as our communities age, we can live dignity and respect.
How do your views on these issues vary with your opponent?
My opponent opposes a ban on assault weapons, supports cuts to Social Security and would vote to repeal Obamacare. The differences are clear in this race.
What is the BIGGEST difference between you and your opponent?
As a Democrat, I am standing with leaders who are committed to investing, engaging and supporting the Latino community, not just during election time but also to build a better country for everyone. My campaign has built a program that showcases our values and the importance of the Latino community to this campaign. We have traveled across the state, engaged elected leaders at every level, knocked on doors in every neighborhood and worked with community leaders to make sure we have a truly grassroots approach. The differences are clear. That is why I am asking for your vote on June 25th.
What can you point to as specific ways your campaign has gone about in engaging the Latino community?
This campaign has organized one of most comprehensive Latino engagement programs in Massachusetts. Our campaign has been invested in the Latino vote since the beginning of this race. We are proud that our staff reflects the diversity of Massachusetts, with over 15% being of color.
I am proud of our “Unidos Con Markey “ program where we launched roundtables throughout the state with hundreds of community leaders participating. This culminated in the statewide event. We have hosted strategy sessions, developed weekly Latino specific communications, engaged Latino media outlets, created a presence on facebook, and twitter. We host regular conference calls and video conferencing. More than 100 leaders from across the state participated in our Latino Summit on June 1st, committed to working on getting out the vote communities throughout MA.
In addition, this campaign knows that engaging Latinos at their doorstep and in their community is important. That is why we have created bi-lingual lit and knocked on ten of thousands doors in Latino community. We host weekly Latino-to-Latino phone banks in every congressional district in the state. I am committed to engaging the Latino community beyond this race, because this election is addressing the issues that make all of our communities better.
How well, from 1 to 10, do you think you know and understand this community?
I know that the Latino community is central to the future of Massachusetts and the country. I believe that that best strategy for creating a future that works for everyone is by purposely investing in engaging communities and collaborating on the addressing important issues. That is why I have invested in creating one of the most comprehensive and robust Latino voter engagement programs.
I have traveled the state engaging Latino communities on the issues that are impacting their families, friends and neighbors. I have invested in connecting with Latinos in person, on the radio, on television, through social media, on the phones and at their doors. Throughout this campaign, I have learned that our accents may be different, but our aspirations are the same.
I am running for U.S. Senate because I want to be a leader working together to achieve those aspirations for this generation and the next.
How does your personal background and experience factor in this election?
I am from Malden, an incredibly diverse and blue-collar town. My father drove a truck for the Hood Milk Company and worked his way up to supervisor. My mother graduated first in her high school class, but left school to care for her sisters after their mother’s death. My mother and father taught me the values that still guide me today: fairness, honesty, integrity, and giving back to your community.
I was the first in my family to go to college and I worked way through Boston College driving an ice cream truck. I then graduated Boston College Law School.
Throughout my career, I have stood up for Massachusetts, doing what’s right for the people he represents even if it was politically unpopular.
What is your take on the future of Hispanic voting power in this country?
Latinos are the fastest growing population in MA, and in the country. The Latino vote was instrumental in electing Barack Obama, and overwhelming support Democratic values. The future of country is one that is rooted in inclusion and diversity. That is why I have committed to creating one of the most robust statewide Latino voter engagement programs in Massachusetts. This race is about making the 21st century, more fair, more inclusive and healthier for everyone. That is why I am asking for your vote on June 25th.