Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

District 7 race pits incumbent Markey against newcomer Dembrowski

With election day 2010 finally upon us, politicians in every district across the country are heating up their campaigns, and Massachusetts’ District 7 is no exception.

The District 7 seat in the House of Representatives is currently held by Democrat Edward J. Markey, who has represented the district for over 30 years with virtually no significant opposition.

Markey earned a law degree from Boston College Law School in 1972. He went on to serve in the United States Army Reserve before running for election to the State House. Subsequently, he was elected to the District 7 seat in 1976, after longtime incumbent Torbert Macdonald died in office. Markey has held the seat ever since, and is now running for an 18th term.

Markey has built a reputation among supporters based on his environmental advocacy. In Congress, he currently serves as Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, in addition to being a senior member of the Energy and Commerce and Natural Resources Committees. He is also Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

Markey’s achievements in office mostly revolve around the environment and energy sustainability. In 2007 he helped pass the first increase in fuel economy standards in over 30 years, from 25-35 miles per gallon. More recently, he led demands for British Petroleum to provide the public with a live video feed of their recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast oil spill to enable scientists to obtain a more accurate flow estimate.

Despite numerous requests for comment, the Markey campaign did not return inquiries. But according to Markey’s website, the Congressman “has authored or helped shape every major environmental, energy and high tech policy over the last three decades.”

District 7 is located in the eastern part of Massachusetts, and encompasses the towns of Arlington, Belmont, Everett, Framingham, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Stoneham, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Revere and Winthrop.

Due to its solidly Democratic history, the Congressional coverage website CQ Politics has ranked District 7 as “safe Democratic,” meaning that the current incumbent is almost certain to win. In addition, the New York Times has predicted a 100 percent chance of a Democratic victory in District 7.

With an outlook like this, one can only wonder who would be prepared to face such a formidable opponent. Enter Dr. Gerry Dembrowski, a chiropractor from Woburn.

“My reason for getting involved in the [District 7 race] is probably, like most of the people out there, [I] just got sick and tired of yelling and screaming at the TV screen seeing all of the corruption that’s going on,” Dembrowski said during a phone interview.

Another reason Dembrowski says he became involved with politics stemmed from the loss of his wife, who died on Feb. 4 after a long battle with breast cancer. According to Dembrowski, he spent more time with his wife and ensured she received the best treatment available due to their insurance coverage.

“I was able to spend those [final] months until Feb. 4 with her,” said Dembrowski, “whereas under the universal healthcare bill that Markey voted on, she probably wouldn’t have gotten all the care that she got until that final day when she passed away.”

Despite Markey’s projected victory, Dembrowski is still confident voters will recognize the work he is putting into his own campaign.

“I’m the one who’s out there every single day from sunup till sundown, shaking peoples’ hands,” he said. “And I know Ed Markey is not out there shaking peoples’ hands, because he’s too busy doing whatever he’s doing in Chevy Chase, Md. being the undocumented Congressman.”

Prognosticating a bit, Dembrowski has already identified his top priorities if he is elected Nov. 2.

“You’ve got to do something about the economy,” he said. “I mean, that is peoples’ worst fear; that the economy is losing their jobs. So we need to do something that could boost the economy.”

“Our economic climate is so fragile that we can’t afford to continue with this spending,” he went on. “So the first thing I’d do is put a moratorium on all tax increases. We just can’t afford it and people are barely squeezing by.”

Despite an ominous litany of problems facing the nation, Dembrowski has identified job placement as the biggest problem faced by students of Massachusetts.

“The current unemployment rate [for students] is 18 percent, if not higher,” he said. “It’s going to be a very tough road for the students coming out of college right now…because the jobs out there are very limited and the students that are hitting the employment line are going to have to compete with people who already have experience.”

Dembrowski also touched back on his previous statements about political instability in emphasizing the state of the economy.

“This is a horrible economy, and we’re being told that, ‘Oh yeah, things are wonderful,’” he said. “But the only thing that’s growing is the government.”

Dembrowski said he feels a large government can mean higher taxes to come, since governments run on tax income.

Dembrowski said he has no intentions of letting this happen, due to what he called an astronomical deficit. He also outlined his plans for combating America’s ever-growing debt problems.

“I’d have to eliminate a whole lot of the discretionary earmark spending that the economists just think is a blank checkbook,” he said. “It’ll be a big start towards getting the national debt under all.

Dembrowski’s parting comments were directed to potential voters at the University of Massachusetts.

“I was in your shoes at one point in time,” he said. “It’s going to be a harder road for them, for you [students], today than it was for me.”

“[Students] need to know that if I get elected, I will be a voice for those students,” he said. “And I will work extremely hard to create an environment that is business-friendly for those people who are coming out of school.”

Cameron Ford can be reached at [email protected].

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