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It seems like all eyes are always on Massachusetts these days.

US Senate seats around here were hard to come by, once upon a time. Both Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Kerry held their posts for a very long time, and generations of lower-level officials had to be promoted upwards elsewhere. But within about three years, we've had two special elections.

In MA, if you aren't aware, there's a history to our appointment-vs.-special-election laws. It used to be by appointment - until the supermajority Dems in the statehouse realized that if John Kerry won the presidency in 2004, one Governor Willard Mitt Romney would get to make the replacement appointment. Well, that wouldn't do! So they changed the law to requiring a (fairly short timeframe) special election to replace open federal offices.

Then sadly, we lost Ted Kennedy right before the final health care fight, among other serious issues facing the nation. Without Kennedy's vote, things looked grim. So the legislature (still a Dem fact, moreso since Mitt's disastrous attempt to gin up the state R's during his midterm) decided to go back to appointments...but so as not to look totally self-serving, made that an interim appointment followed by a special election. (An interim that progressive Dem Governor Deval Patrick would make.)

Personally, I think we've got the right law governing replacements for federal office now, no matter the motivations on how we got here. This way, MA gets full representation at the federal level while we await the little-d democratic outcome. And while the special election timeframe (and lately, frequency) drives me absolutely bananas, as it makes true grassroots campaigns very difficult, and unknown grassroots candidates impossible, and turnout is rather pathetic compared to even-year elections, making it a decision made by relatively few registered voters, it's still democracy.

But enough about that...sorry, I tend to wax wonky on this stuff. You wanna hear about Ed Markey's kickoff, the reason you clicked on this diary. :) I am basically sending you to another blog, sorry...I know my friend Dick Howe doesn't post here on DK, but he has two very excellent posts you should read. Dick Howe is another local blogger here and elected official (Registrar of Deeds, a county position) and a great progressive. The fact that he has lent Ed Markey his support so early in the race (before Kerry was even confirmed) is very meaningful to many of us. Follow me past the peach tilde-on-steroids.

Dick outlines the general feeling of the Malden event from yesterday:

Markey bounded onto the stage to thunderous applause. Accompanied by his wife, his two brothers and their spouses, he launched into his remarks, pledging to “give all people access to the American Dream” and promising to “advance President Obama’s agenda”, a specific refrain heard repeatedly throughout the speech. He warned of “Tea Party extremists” in Washington trying to “slash Medicare and Medicaid”; of Big Oil trying to stop the clean energy revolution and he promised to beat back the NRA and to ban deadly assault weapons.
Continuing on to the environment, an issue on which Markey has long been considered a national leader, he used his familiar line: “The planet has a fever; there are no emergency rooms for sick planets; we need a green revolution.” Next, Markey advocated a Constitutional Amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which allowed unlimited corporate expenditures on elections.
A big part of the reason I'm enthusiastically supporting Ed Markey (not that it's much of a hard choice against socially-conservative Stephen Lynch) is his long, storied history of being an environmental champion. Which is where another post by Dick Howe hits home:
Markey held Congressional hearings in Woburn and helped “lift the shroud of darkness from toxic waste in Woburn.” Markey went on to advance the cause of Super Fund legislation in Congress and has been a champion of environmental issues throughout his career. But to Ann Anderson and the families devastated by toxic drinking water, he is a hero.
Go read the whole posts, give my friend Mr. Howe some DK love, and know that in our special election to replace John Kerry, we have a very progressive fighter that we can be excited to support.

You can donate directly on Markey's website, or use ActBlue (where there is a smattering of fundraising pages started). I recommend my other progressive friend, Harmony Wu. It would be awesome if all of a sudden a bunch of DK people donated through her page and surprised her. Yeah, I'm a mischief fairy, it's generally my roll around here. :)

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