At a time when Capitol Hill remains mired in gridlock, U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Bourne, has been finding alternative routes to get things done. For example, in the past two years, Keating secured about $120 million in federal funding for the 9th Congressional District for everything from workforce development to public safety.
We recommend Keating for many reasons, including his willingness to work across the aisle on such critical issues as national security, the opioids epidemic, and federal flood insurance.
At a candidates forum on Oct. 15, Keating said he is motivated by values, not party.
For example, Keating was the only Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee to push for the release of the findings of a special investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings. In that investigation, Keating was compelled to travel to Russia to gather intelligence on the bombers because the FBI refused to provide him the information he needed. And when he found out the FBI dismissed critical information about the bombers before the attack, members of his own party asked him to keep it quiet so as not to embarrass the Obama administration.
As for his ability to work with the GOP, Keating worked with the majority whip from Louisiana to improve the federal flood insurance program. He created a bipartisan coalition of legislators who live in districts containing nuclear power plants to work together to make sure plants like the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth are safely decommissioned.
Despite a do-nothing Congress, Keating is far from ineffective. When we asked him to list some of his accomplishments in just the past two years, we had to cut him off after about 20 minutes. His list includes:
-- A bill to attack ISIS’s main source of funding – the trafficking of cultural properties – passed the House and a key provision was signed into law.
-- Convincing the Department of Labor to reduce the backlog in processing H-2B visa applications and get guest workers to the Cape and Islands quicker.
-- Securing $923,000 for opioid abuse treatment and prevention programs in the district, including $250,000 for expanding the Drug-Free Communities Program on Martha’s Vineyard. As a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, Keating helped bring 18 opioid-related bills to the House floor.
-- Securing about $700,000 in funding from the Department of Commerce to address the needs of fishing communities, including maintaining sustainable fisheries and increasing opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable.
-- Fighting for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. The bank helped businesses in southeast Massachusetts and the Cape and Islands secure more than $30 million in assistance to increase their competitiveness in the global marketplace.
-- Writing two provisions that provide funding and resources for prescription drug take-back programs. Both were signed into law by President Obama.
As for Keating's GOP opponent, Alliegro raises some important points, such as reducing regulations, better enforcing existing immigration law, and cutting waste in government.
But Keating does not disagree on some of those issues. For instance, he told our editorial board that the Homeland Security Department is "one of the most bloated and fragmented bureaucracies in our government." Keating said he would like to consolidate some of its operations. "I would like to see some offices closed in expensive places like Boston and moved to Joint Base Cape Cod,” he said.
But one of the starkest differences between Keating and Alliegro is Keating’s willingness to aggressively work to mitigate the effects of climate change on the Cape and Islands.
"Climate change affects our fishing, tourism and hospitality industries," he said. As a result, Keating has secured more than $10 million for local coastal resiliency projects. He also led a bipartisan effort to preserve $46.3 million for a program that helps coastal communities prepare for and respond to extreme weather.
Keating works hard for the district, and we urge voters to return him to Congress.
(This article originally appeared here in the Cape Cod Times on October 26, 2016)