Markey sounds off at town hall, says he’s ready for political war with GOP (w/video)

  • Hundreds wait in line on Green Street near the entrance to Sage Hall at Smith College for Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A group of children sing while accompanied by Nerissa Nields during Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A group of people stand and applaud during Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Mayor David Narkewicz speaks before introducing Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • U.S. Sen. Ed Markey speaks Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College, where he told a packed crowd he is ready for a political fight. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Adan Abdi, now of Springfield and originally from Somalia, applauds an answer from Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sen. Ed Markey speaks Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sen. Ed Markey speaks Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sen. Ed Markey speaks Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Smith College students Naomi Forman-Katz, front left, and Maisie Smith ask a question during Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. They are members of a local chapter of If Not Now. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Wiley James, 7, of Northampton, Noa Rubinstein, 11, of Turners Falls, and Silas James, 10, of Northampton, were among those holding signs while awaiting entrance to Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Saul Shanabrook, front left, and Nina Levison, second from left, both of Amherst, hold signs beside a couple who declined to be identified during Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dale Melcher, of Northampton, waits for the town hall to start with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday, in Sage Hall at Smith College. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Alison Bowen, of Goshen, right, waits for the start of Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A group of people hold signs during town hall with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sadie Ross and Leo Franceschi, both 12 of South Deerfield, wait for the start of Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A group of people wait for the start of Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kimaya Diggs, a teacher at Northampton High School, sings during Town Hall with Sen. Ed Markey, Thursday in Sage Hall at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

@mjmajchrowicz
Published: 2/23/2017 11:52:29 PM

NORTHAMPTON — At a packed town hall event Thursday evening, Democratic U.S. Sen. Ed Markey had a message for President Donald Trump and his colleagues across the aisle: “If you want a political war, we’re ready to give you political war.”

An estimated 1,400 people listened to Markey sound off and field questions about Trump’s highly controversial travel ban, deportation guidelines and the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Markey offered about 15 minutes worth of remarks before inviting audience members to pose questions.

“We’re from Massachusetts … We love political peace,” he said moments before invoking the so-called political war. “But you know who else we are? … We’re ready to give you political war, too, OK? We’re ready to fight.”

About 700 people packed into Smith College’s Sage Hall, while another estimated 700 people were relegated to First Churches on Main Street where a live stream of the event was offered. Inside the hall, enthusiasm was high and the hand-drawn demonstration signs — “Impeach Trump,” “Subpoena Trump’s tax returns,” and more — were plentiful.

“Thank you for being the place where revolutions begin. The American Revolution started right here. The abolitionist movement started right here. The suffragette movement started right here,” Markey said to much applause. “The freedom riders going South started right here. The anti-Vietnam movement, the anti-nuclear movement, the nuclear freeze movement, the gay marriage movement — it started here.”

He continued:

“We have this incredible moment in history where Donald Trump believes it’s not the rule of law but the rule of Trump that should prevail in our country. And as we know, beginning here in western Massachusetts, but across the whole country we are going to have to put Donald Trump into a remedial constitutional law course,” Markey said. “He is going to have to understand there is a very careful separation of powers that was built into that document that ensure the House and the Senate would also have a role … and so that is going to be a battle, that unfortunately we are going to have to have, the next three years and 48 weeks.”

From the audience, Deb Caldieri, of Amherst, who has also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis , asked Markey if he “would fight to keep Obama’s ACA in tact.”

“ACA, Medicare and Medicaid saved my life. I have no income and could not afford my treatments … without ACA,” she said.

Markey assured Caldieri he would defend the ACA and that he and his staff would also meet with her to learn more about the “particulars” of her situation.

Markey also lauded Mayor David Narkewicz’s support of immigrants and refugees and the establishment of Northampton as a sanctuary city.

“Whoever these people are, whether they be Somali, Mexican, Guatemalan, you name it, they are here for a reason, and it’s not because they were doing great in the countries they came from,” he said.

Dale Melcher, of Northampton, asked Markey what he intended to do to ensure the arrival of the remainder of the 51 refugees that Catholic Charities agreed to welcome to western Massachusetts.

A family of three from Iraq resettled in Northampton last weekend after spending two years in a Turkish refugee camp. A Bhutanese family arrived in Westfield just days prior. Catholic Charities said previously it has assurances from the State Department to make western Massachusetts a home for at least 18 refugees.*

“We don’t know when our next families will arrive or even if they will arrive, and we want to know what you can do to help Northampton get our families,” Melcher said. “My basic question is: where are our refugees?”

That’s when Markey pledged to Melcher and the audience that he would “work with the Department of Homeland Security to try to get these people to the top of the list.”

“Especially if they’ve been vetted for years, and there is no issue with them that has been identified,” he added.

When asked by a reporter after the town hall how that process moves forward, Markey said: “In order to take any issue and make it move, you have to, as a senator, take the issue, bring it to the agency, ask them to deal with it, and the more attention that you pay to it, the more they are forced to pay to it.”

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com.

*An earlier version of this article inaccurately described the number of refugees recently resettled in western Massachusetts as well as their native countries and their new communities. 

 




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