Markey receives rousing welcome from MTA delegates

U.S. Representative Edward Markey, the MTA- and NEA-recommended candidate for U.S. Senate in the upcoming special election, energized a large crowd on May 11 at the MTA’s 2013 Annual Meeting of Delegates.

Markey drew loud applause from the nearly 1,000 delegates gathered for the meeting at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

Markey, who was first endorsed as a candidate by the MTA and NEA 35 years ago, has an “A” rating in Congress on education issues, said MTA President Paul Toner, who offered a warm introduction for Markey.

Markey thanked educators and praised them as “an incredible asset” to society. He told stories of growing up in Malden and spoke touchingly of his mother, whose career aspirations went unrealized because her own mother had died and she was not able to go to college.

“That’s just the way it was,” Markey said. He said that after his mother had begun to lose her memory to Alzheimer’s disease, he took out a camera and interviewed her, asking her what she would have done if she had been able to continue her education.

“Eddie,” she said to her son, leaning in, “I could have been a good teacher, don’t you think?”

During his speech, the congressman decried the number of children who are killed as a result of gun violence each week.

He told the delegates that the technology near children in their schools should be a computer “and not a gun.”

He also sharply criticized the “mindless” effects of sequestration, the across-the-board budget cuts that are hitting Head Start, Pell grants and other educational programs.

Markey, who represents the 5th Middlesex District, talked about his record of fighting to give students equal access to technology. He pointed to as the E-rate program, which ensures Internet access in classrooms across the country. “I want a more fair society,” he said to applause.

Markey warned of a repeat of the 2010 Senate election in Massachusetts – which was won by Republican Scott Brown – and said that if he’s elected, he’ll be happy to have a “real debate” on entitlements in the U.S. Senate.

“We have to protect Medicare. We have to protect the people who contribute to the society,” he said, referring to educators.

Markey is running against Republican Gabriel Gomez in the election, which will be held June 25. The Senate seat was formerly held by Democrat John F. Kerry, who is now the U.S. secretary of state. The largest union in the state, the MTA has more than 110,000 members, including preK-12 teachers, education support professionals, public higher education faculty and staff, and public education retirees. The MTA is the state affiliate of the 3-million-member NEA. This week’s annual meeting was MTA’s 168th.



For photo coverage of the 2013 MTA Annual Meeting of Delegates, visit the MTA's Flickr page.