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Edward Markey

Ed Markey
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
Assumed office
July 16, 2013
Serving with Elizabeth Warren
Preceded by Mo Cowan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th district
In office
January 3, 2013 – July 15, 2013
Preceded by Niki Tsongas
Succeeded by TBD
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 7th district
In office
November 2, 1976 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Torbert Macdonald
Succeeded by Mike Capuano
Chairman of the House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee
In office
March 8, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Committee established
Succeeded by Committee abolished
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
from the 16th Middlesex district
In office
January 3, 1973 – November 2, 1976
Preceded by William Callahan
Succeeded by Joseph DeNucci
Personal details
Born Edward John Markey
(1946-07-11) July 11, 1946 (age 67)
Malden, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Susan Blumenthal
Residence Malden, Massachusetts
Alma mater Boston College (B.A., J.D.)
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Campaign website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1968–1973
Rank Specialist Fourth Class
Unit Army Reserve

Edward John "Ed" Markey (born July 11, 1946) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts. From 1976 to 2013 he served as the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 5th congressional district. He previously served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1973 to 1976.

Markey is a liberal who has focused on energy policy and is the former Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. In 2013, following John Kerry's appointment as United States Secretary of State, he was elected to serve out the balance of Kerry's sixth Senate term in a 2013 special election. He defeated socially conservative Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary, and Republican Gabriel E. Gomez in the general election. Prior to leaving the House for the Senate, he was its 8th most senior member. He is the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation and the second longest-serving current member of Congress from New England, behind Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

Early life, education, and career

Markey was born on July 11, 1946 in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Christina M. (née Courtney) and John E. Markey.[1][2] Markey was raised in an Irish Catholic family and educated at Immaculate Conception School and Malden Catholic High School. He graduated from Boston College in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts, and from Boston College Law School in 1972 with a Juris Doctor.[3] After graduating, Markey worked as a lawyer in private practice.

Markey served in the United States Army Reserve from 1968 to 1973, attaining the rank of Specialist Fourth Class. He joined while a junior in college, and has stated that he enlisted before receiving a Vietnam War draft notice. He further stated that even though he opposed the war, if he had been drafted without having secured a position in the Reserve, he would have answered the induction notice and gone to Vietnam. Ed Markey's South Boston unit included Thomas P. O'Neill III, Steve Grossman, and Markey's brothers Richard and John. Markey was discharged in 1973, a year before his enlistment agreement was due to expire, which was not unusual as the military discharged many members early during post-Vietnam force draw down.[4][5][6][7][8]

Markey was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he represented the 16th Middlesex district (Malden and Melrose) from 1973 to 1976.[3][9]

U.S. House of Representatives


On May 21, 1976, incumbent Congressman Torbert Macdonald died in office. Markey, who had just been elected to a third term in the state house, entered a seven-candidate Democratic primary for what was then the 7th District. In the primary--the real contest in this heavily Democratic district--Markey won the nomination with a plurality of 22% of the vote.[10] In the November 1976 election, he defeated Republican Richard Daly 77-18%.[11] That election also doubled as a special election for the balance of Macdonald's term, and as such Markey took office later that night. This gave him greater seniority over other congressmen who had been elected in 1976.

Markey has been challenged in a Democratic primary 3 times; in 1980 when he won 85%,[12] in 1984 when he won 54%,[13] and in 2002 when he won 85%.[14]

Markey was re-elected 19 more times from this district, which included most of the northern suburbs of Boston. His lowest total was 62% in 1992, in a 3 way election. Markey faced no Republican opposition in his bids for re-election 8 times, in 1978; 80; 86-90; 2000–02, and 2006.[15][16] His district was renumbered as the 5th District after the 2010 census, in which Massachusetts lost a district.


Markey was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the National Journal gave him a "Composite Liberal" score of 89.2.[17]

Environment and energy

In December 2007, Markey became the first US politician to utilize the medium of Second Life, through which he addressed the delegates of the UNFCCC in Bali as part of OneClimate's Virtual Bali event. It was estimated that the carbon dioxide saved in not flying to Bali was around 5.5 tons.[18] Pressure from Markey prompted BP to provide a live underwater video feed showing oil leaking out of a pipe in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.[19] Markey has been a longtime critic of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and has been critical of the NRC's decision-making on the proposed Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design and the NRC response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.[20][21]

In 2011, Markey criticized Republicans and the Tea Party movement, saying "Rick Perry and these other guys are allergic to science...too many of the tea party people, who basically don’t believe in science, are now controlling the Republican Party."[22] In reply to Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin's position on how the American Clean Energy and Security Act (also known as Waxman-Markey, named after Markey and Henry Waxman) could had a negative impact for Alaskans,[23] Markey wrote an article criticizing Palin's inaction on global warming and her environmental positions.[24]

Markey sarcastically suggested in August 2010 that global warming skeptics form their own country on an iceberg: “An iceberg four times the size of Manhattan has broken off Greenland, creating plenty of room for global warming deniers to start their own country.” Markey also said that, at the time, 2010 was the hottest recorded year, and "scientists agree arctic ice is a canary in a coal mine that provides clear warnings on climate”.[25][26] Markey has derided Republicans' stance on global warming, stating during a hearing: "I won’t physically rise, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.”[27]

In January 2011, House Republicans eliminated the Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, which had been created by Nancy Pelosi in 2006 and chaired by Markey.[28]

Domestic issues

Markey was one of the 31 members of the House who voted not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 Presidential election; not counting the votes would have meant John Kerry was elected President.[29]

Markey introduced legislation to change the duration of daylight saving time[30] and to increasing privacy controls over children online.[31]

Markey has drawn some minor controversy to himself, through his proposal to introduce legislation[32] that deals with amusement parks' rollercoasters, believing that newer, faster rides - which exert greater G-pressures on the human body - are dangerous mentally and physically, despite a lack of concrete evidence to support these claims,[33] and contrary to specific studies that affirmed the general safety of rollercoasters in general.[34]

National defense

In 2003, Markey called attention to the lack of security surrounding air cargo placed on commercial passenger planes, arguing that if all passenger baggage is screened for explosive devices, air cargo on the same plane should be as well.[35] In 2007, he succeeded in getting a 100 percent air cargo screening requirement signed into law.[36] In the law codifying the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, Markey wrote the mandate requiring all cargo on passenger planes to be screened.[37]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate

In 2004, Markey was considered a possible contender for John Kerry's seat in the United States Senate if Kerry were to be elected President of the United States.[38] Markey was considered a leading contender to run in the 2010 special election to replace the late Ted Kennedy. On September 12, 2009, however, he announced his decision to not run and instead endorsed fellow Congressman Michael Capuano, who went on to lose the Democratic primary to Martha Coakley.[39]

2013 special election

Main article: United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 2013

On December 27, 2012, Markey was the first to announce his candidacy to run in a special election to fill Kerry's seat following his nomination as United States Secretary of State by Barack Obama.[40] Markey received the endorsements of several politicians, including Kerry, even before Kerry's confirmation by the Senate.[41] On April 30, 2013, Markey won the Democratic nomination by defeating fellow Congressman Stephen Lynch in the primary election.[42] He defeated Republican challenger Gabriel E. Gomez in the general special election on June 25 and will complete the remaining 17 months of Kerry's term.[43][44]

Markey is the longest tenured House member ever elected to the Senate, with his 36-plus years of service exceeding that of Frederick H. Gillett, who served in the House for 32 years before moving to the upper chamber in 1925.[45][46] Markey is the 11th oldest candidate to win a U.S. Senate special election out of more than 170 men and women since the passage of the 17th Amendment.[47]


Markey resigned his House seat on July 15 and was sworn into the Senate on July 16.[48] Although he is the dean of the Massachusetts delegation, he is the state's junior Senator, alongside Elizabeth Warren.

Committee assignments

Personal life

Since 1988, Markey has been married to Dr. Susan J. Blumenthal, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Women's Health and held the rank of Rear Admiral as Assistant U.S. Surgeon General.[50] Since 2005, he has been a contributing writer for The Huffington Post.[51] He was one of several politicians who had a cameo role in the 2003 film Gods and Generals, in which he played an Irish Brigade officer.[52]

Electoral history

Main article: Electoral history of Ed Markey


External links

  • Senator Ed Markey official U.S. Senate website
  • Ed Markey for Senate
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Ballotpedia
  • NNDB
  • Project Vote Smart
  • GovTrack
  • OpenCongress
  • Roll Call
  • Federal Election Commission
  • The Washington Post
  • On the Issues
  • The Library of Congress
  • The Washington Post
  • WorldCat catalog)
  • C-SPAN programs
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Bloomberg News
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • SourceWatch
  • Ed Markey speaks on Second Life to delegates during OneClimate's Virtual Bali event in December 2007
Preceded by
Torbert Macdonald
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 7th congressional district

November 2, 1976 – January 3, 2013
Succeeded by
Mike Capuano
New office Chairperson of the House Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee
Position abolished
Preceded by
Niki Tsongas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

January 3, 2013 – July 15, 2013
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Kerry
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
(Class 2)

Most recent
Preceded by
Mo Cowan
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Massachusetts
Served alongside: Elizabeth Warren
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Heidi Heitkamp
as U.S. Senator from North Dakota
Order of Precedence of the United States Succeeded by
Cory Booker
as U.S. Senator from New Jersey
Preceded by
Heidi Heitkamp
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Cory Booker


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