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Another big endorsement for Congressman Ed Markey (D. MA) in his bid for Secretary of State John Kerry's (D. MA) U.S. Senate seat:

Despite endorsing his opponent in the Democratic primary for the open U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, two nurses unions announced Thursday that they are throwing their support behind Congressman Edward Markey, D-Malden.

In endorsing Markey over Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez, the unions said the longtime Massachusetts representative's work to protect the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs were deciding factors.

"We need someone in office who puts patients first. Rep. Markey believes in corporate accountability and in ensuring that our society protects those who are most vulnerable," said Karen Higgins, co-president of National Nurses United in a statement. "Ed Markey stands for nurses and the communities we serve, and so nurses are proud to stand with him."

Markey lauded the nurses in accepting the endorsement, adding that he reaffirms his "commitment to be their steadfast ally in the Senate." - The Republican, 5/30/13

Markey's had quite a week.  President Obama endorsed his campaign and the First Lady came to Boston to speak at a fundraiser for Markey's campaign.  We also had the chance to see how much Markey differs on the issues from his opponent, businessman Gabriel Gomez (R. MA).  Especially when it comes to reproductive rights:

The Markey campaign on Thursday brought abortion and contraception to the forefront. Markey supports abortion rights; Gomez opposes abortion, though he has said he would not try to overturn Roe v. Wade and would not have a litmus test for judicial nominees.

Gomez’s critics have pointed to a Boston Globe story in which Gomez said he had not read the Blunt Amendment, a bill that would have allowed employers to opt out of paying for insurance coverage for any service to which they had a moral or religious objection – such as contraception. The Globe reported that Gomez also did not take a position on the Stupak Amendment, a proposal that would have restricted federal subsidies from going to private health care plans that cover abortion.

On Thursday, Walz and State Rep. Ruth Balser, a Newton Democrat, delivered a copy of the Blunt Amendment to Gomez’s campaign headquarters.

“Mr. Gomez has repeatedly said that he has not read the amendment and we thought it would be helpful to him to have a copy of the amendment sitting on his desk,” Walz told after the event. “He’s so ill informed that women can’t trust him to be a champion for their health if he should be elected.”

Gomez, asked about the Blunt Amendment on Thursday, said, “I’m not sure how much more clear I can be on both the Blunt and Stupak (amendments).” But in his response, Gomez did not directly address either amendment.

Rather, he reiterated his belief that taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund abortion.

He also said, “I also believe 100 percent contraception should be available over the counter.”

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal last December arguing that oral contraceptives should be available over the counter, without a prescription. Jindal argued that this would take some of the politics out of the debate over access to birth control. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration mandates that only a doctor can prescribe oral contraceptives.

Gomez said he agreed with Jindal, though he said there should be some age cutoff regarding who can buy contraception over the counter. (Gomez did not specify an age, but the issue recently came up with regards to the “morning-after pill,” when the FDA recommended lowering the age limit for girls allowed to buy that drug over the counter from 17 to 15.) - The Republican, 5/30/13

The special election is Tuesday, June 25th.  If you'd like to get involved with the Markey campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Thu May 30, 2013 at 10:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Massachusetts Kosmopolitans, and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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