The Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. William Keating has based much of his campaign on a stunt to support his claim that Keating, a Democrat from Bourne, is invisible. In a video ad, John Chapman asks residents of the 9th Congressional District, "Do you know your congressman?"
None could name Keating.
It's dangerously similar to a stunt pulled by late-night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel only two weeks ago. In a video that's been viewed more than 600,000 times on YouTube, a Kimmel producer asks average Americans one simple question: "Who is Joe Biden?"
The Kimmel studio audience laughs at the ignorance of the American electorate when none of those asked knows that Biden is the vice president of the United States of America.
Chapman inadvertently ridiculing the very people whose vote he needs doesn't seem terribly wise. Nor does ignoring the vast accomplishments of Keating in a mere four years in office.
Since being elected to serve the 9th Congressional District in 2010, Keating has distinguished himself as a representative of the people, for the people.
Weeks before Keating was elected to Congress in 2010, a 16-year-old boy stowed away in a wheel well of a Boston-bound jetliner. The teen fell to his death when the plane was passing over Milton. Tragic as the case was, Keating understood the larger issue of national security. One of his first tasks after being elected was to secure a spot on the powerful House Committee on Homeland Security and call for hearings into airport security. He has since become a national leader on the matter.
Not satisfied with the federal investigation before and after the the Boston Marathon bombing, Keating wrote the FBI demanding to know how alleged bombing mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev fell off the radar of federal counterterrorism teams despite warnings from Russian intelligence services. Months later, he remained dogged and traveled to Moscow ahead of the Sochi Olympics to ensure that Americans would be safe from terrorism. While there, he gathered more information regarding the Boston bombing and held the FBI accountable.
Keating has trained his doggedness on the local economy, too.
He has a comprehensive, ambitious and yet absolutely doable plan to marry the greatest resources of the South Shore and Cape Cod into an economic driver, and he has already laid the groundwork for a sustainable model to come. Keating's idea to create a "maritime regional center" that combines local businesses, colleges -- including a proposed Massasoit College maritime program in Marshfield -- and research facilities is perfect for our region.
This isn't a campaign promise, it's a project he has already helped usher forward. He was with the EPA on Cape Cod last week to announce a $2 million grant that will establish the Southeast New England Coastal Watershed Restoration Program, which will clean up local waterways. Additionally, he has secured $3 million for Cape Cod Community College's STEM program to feed the regional maritime center.
Along with state Rep. James Cantwell of Marshfield, Keating has been a champion of South Shore and Cape residents unfairly targeted by new FEMA flood maps and steep flood insurance rate increases. In a stroke of genius, Keating asked coastal scientists at UMass-Dartmouth to review FEMA's maps.
What they discovered was that FEMA developed maps for all of Massachusetts using outdated wave methodology better suited to the Pacific coast. As a result, maps for Plymouth County were delayed a year while towns appeal them, saving residents thousands of dollars in fees.
Keating hasn't been invisible in the 9th Congressional District, he's been leading the charge on the district's behalf. If Chapman hasn't seen him, then we must ask where he's been.
We enthusiastically endorse William Keating for Congress and have little doubt that he will continue to be a forceful and effective advocate on behalf of the people of the South Shore and Cape Cod.