On January 19, 2010, incumbent Senator Scott Brown defied the odds and the state’s strong Democratic establishment to win a special election called to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward M. Kennedy on August 25, 2009, after 46 years in office.
Prior to Mr. Brown’s victory, the last time a Republican was elected to the Senate was Edward Brooke, a Vineyard summer resident reelected in 1972.
Democrats hope to regain a seat Republicans hope to hold in a race that has attracted national attention and heaps of money. On Tuesday, Senator Brown will face a challenge from Elizabeth Warren.
Profiles of the two candidates, based on each candidate’s website (scottbrown.com, elizabethwarren.com) and their published comments on a variety of major political issues follow:
Senator Scott Brown, 50, of Wrentham is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston College Law School. He came up through the ranks in state elected office. A former Wrentham selectman, he served three terms as a state representative before his election to the Massachusetts state senate. Mr. Brown has been a member of the Massachusetts National Guard for 32 years and holds the rank of colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He and his wife, Gail, a reporter at WJLA-DC, have two daughters.
Mr. Brown says he has kept true to his word and represented Massachusetts as an independent voter and thinker. “He has held firm to his principles of lower taxes and less government spending and has advocated for strong national security policies to keep our country safe from terrorism,” according to his website.
Mr. Brown said he has made job creation his top legislative priority and has worked on a series of bills targeted at boosting specific sectors in the Bay State economy, “including the medical device industry, our innovative start-up companies, and our hard-working fishermen, among many others.”
On the topic of immigration, Mr. Brown said the government should not adopt policies that encourage illegal immigration. “I believe we ought to strengthen our border enforcement and institute an employment verification system with penalties for companies that hire illegal immigrants. It is wrong to provide driver’s licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants because it will act as a magnet in drawing more people here in violation of the law, and it imposes new costs on taxpayers.”
Mr. Brown said he opposes tax hikes. “I am a free enterprise advocate who believes that lower taxes can encourage economic growth. Raising taxes stifles growth, weakens the economy and puts more people out of work. Our economy works best when individuals have more of their income to spend and businesses have money to invest and add jobs. I have been a fiscal watchdog in the state legislature fighting bigger government, higher taxes and wasteful spending.
“I am the only member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation who opposes earmarks, which are symbolic of Washington’s out-of-control spending. I opposed the trillion dollar stimulus bill that failed to create jobs, as well as the $700 billion taxpayer-funded bank bailout known as TARP. I support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and believe it will force the federal government to finally get its fiscal house in order.”
Elizabeth Warren, a native of Oklahoma, received a law degree from Rutgers School of Law. Ms. Warren has been a law professor at Harvard for nearly 20 years. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, she served as chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). She also led the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ms. Warren and her husband, Bruce Mann, have two children and three grandchildren. They live in Cambridge with their golden retriever, Otis.
On a campaign swing in August to the Island, Elizabeth Warren visited the offices of The Times where she answered several questions.
Ms. Warren supports Cape Wind. “We have an opportunity to be on the front end of clean energy, not the trailing end, and that’s important not only for the environment, it’s important for the economy,” she told The Times.
On immigration, she says that any reform should have three components, according to her website. “It must uphold existing laws, protecting our borders and enforcing our laws against recruiting, hiring, and exploiting undocumented workers. It needs to be fair to all taxpayers and to legal immigrants. There should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but one that would require them to pay taxes and go to the back of the line. It needs to help us retain talent trained at our world-class institutions and support job creation.”
On tax policy, she said small businesses are at a competitive disadvantage. “We need serious tax reform to make the tax code fairer and simpler. The most profitable corporations should have to pay their fair share. The tax code should not be designed to encourage companies and jobs to go overseas. And those who already have made it big have a responsibility to pay a little bit forward — so the next kid coming along has a chance to make it too.”
Regarding the economy, she said the country has both a short-term jobs problem and a long-term jobs problem.
“Right now, we need to put people to work. Without a job and a paycheck, people can’t spend money, and that hurts businesses and depresses the economy. There’s also plenty of work to do — rebuilding our roads, bridges, and water systems, work as teachers’ aides, work weatherizing our homes and offices.
“In the longer term, we need to invest in our future. We need to work together to invest in the things that create the conditions for our people to prosper and our economy to grow.”