Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Brown Record Speaks for Itself

As a long-term resident of the Merrimack Valley, I am deeply concerned that the public image Senator Scott Brown presents via the media and scripted speeches fails to focus on the reality of his record.

To set the record straight I believe voters should know the following FACTS about Mr. Brown’s legislative actions:

1. Contrary to his numerous claims and his recent ads, Mr. Brown’s voting record is one of a partisan Republican and not a moderate independent. Until Elizabeth Warren entered the Senate race, 93.8% of the time he voted the straight Republican Party line. (ProgressMass study of voting record, 5/7/12). 

2. He has promoted this false image of being independent by claiming to support Democratic measures --while working behind the scenes to obstruct them. For example, while he belatedly voted to support financial reform, the truth is that private emails show he worked behind the scenes to permit banks to continue risky business practices. As the Boston Globe reported on June 4, 2012, “Senator Scott Brown has trumpeted his role in casting the deciding vote in favor of the 2010 Wall Street overhaul, but records show that after he voted for the law, he worked to shield banks and other financial institutions from some of its tough provisions. E-mails between Brown's legislative director and US Treasury Department officials show that Brown advocated for a loose interpretation of the law so that banks could more easily engage in high-risk investments.” (at p. A-1, Metro).In similar fashion, he initially voted NO twice to block a needed payroll tax cut extension to help 160 million mostly middle class Americans – but then, once it became clear the measure would pass, he changed his vote to yes, proclaiming he supported the idea all along.
3. Contrary to his image of being a “man of the people” with his truck and barn coat – and high six figure income, Brown’s voting record shows him to be a Wall Street best friend, to the point that Forbes Magazine named him one of Wall Street’s favorite Senators! A grateful Wall Street has responded by making more financial contributions to Brown than to almost any other Senator (N.Y. Times, 11/18/11).
4. Brown has been anything but a Job Creator and friend of small business! His No votes to promote JOBS and protect workers include opposing bills that would:  

a) extend Unemployment Insurance (S. 1660)
b) protect 22,000 MA teacher, firefighter, and police jobs. (S. 1723)
c) create 11,000 MA infrastructure repair jobs (S. 1769)
d) promote American jobs while discouraging off-shore jobs (S.3816)
e) provide summer jobs for teens (Boston Herald).

5. Brown’s voting record shows him NOT to be a “Friend of the Middle Class/Students/Women/ Environment”. Repeatedly he voted with the Republican Party leadership against the interests of the middle class. He voted NO to renew Student Loan relief. The reason he gave was that the relatively small cost for helping financially strapped students and their families was to be paid by closing tax loopholes for the rich – he preferred cutting preventative health care for the poor. (NYTimes, 6/28/12). He voted NO to the “Buffet Rule” to tax millionaires fairly. He co-sponsored the effort to limit women’s access to health care insurance coverage at work. (Boston Globe, 2/15/12). He voted NO to give women equal pay for equal work (S. 3772). He voted NO on the Senior Citizen Relief Act that would help seniors struggling on social security just a little (S. 3985). Brown voted NO to help 9/11 responders exposed to toxins get needed health care coverage. (NYTimes, 12/9/2010). He voted NO to protect clean air regulations, such as the EPA’s efforts to reduce carbon pollution – which science shows contributes to children’s asthma and other illnesses. A May 13, 2011 letter to him from some 40 environmental groups pointed out that Brown’s votes contradict his misleading claims that he is a supporter of a “clean environment”.

The Brown record speaks for itself. Voters need to separate myth from reality when assessing his candidacy -- and the press needs to step up and help identify the facts.

Sincerely yours,

Lois Karfunkel
22 Orchard Crossing
Andover, MA