The Standard-Times endorses U.S. Rep. William Keating for re-election to serve the 9th Congressional District, where he has demonstrated the skill and understanding to help constituents where they live and serve their best interests in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Keating is no stranger to his constituents in Bristol and Plymouth counties (as well as the Cape and Islands counties), where by meeting them face to face he knows their issues and concerns. His decades in public service in both houses of the state Legislature and as District Attorney for Norfolk County have been characterized by empathetic recognition of the social challenges that beset our communities, and creative, strategic responses to those challenges.
On Capitol Hill, he has worked for change in economic issues that directly affect those in the district, whether they are business owners in need of skilled workers or fishermen struggling against the ravages of climate change and onerous regulations. He also displays an intellect that sees the impact of broader issues, notably with regard to national security. He has used his membership on the House committees on Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security proactively, pushing for progress where needed and providing transparency when it has been lacking.
He has been an advocate for behavioral health issues since long before serving in Congress, but as a U.S. representative, he has been responsible for bringing to the district hundreds of thousands of dollars targeting the opioid abuse epidemic, and has authored or co-authored numerous pieces legislation to get at the root causes.
For his constituents on SouthCoast, he has brought in millions for economic development and job training, education, health care and housing, for programs that matter to us, because he's been no stranger and knows whom he serves.
What makes his grass-roots service especially valuable, however, is the hard work he does in a divided, stubborn Congress hindered by regressive ideologues who have squandered the privilege of elective office by stonewalling bipartisan efforts. Rep. Keating has managed to reach across the aisle, and has gone against the grain of his own party when politics threatened to subvert policy.
Rep. Keating's main challenger, Republican Mark Alliegro, appears to align quite clearly with that intransigent bloc of Republicans that organize under the flag of the tea party. While Mr. Alliegro says his political views aren't necessarily defined by affiliation with the movement, he was the founder of the Upper Cape Tea Party, and his promise to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, his description of climate change as a "huge fraud" and his opposition to same-sex marriage make it rather clear that compromise with Democrats would not be at the top of his agenda were he to be elected.
While it is true that the editorial board of The Standard-Times sees the tea party movement as hindering the efforts of statesmen of both parties to do the business of the people, and while we are opposed to its propagation as a threat to democracy, our endorsement of Rep. Keating is unabashedly enthusiastic on his merits. We urge your support of him at the polls, whether during early voting or on Election Day, because he knows what his constituents want by knowing his constituents, and he applies reason, civility and wisdom in his work on their behalf.
(This article appeared in The Standard-Times on October 30, 2016)