The campaign of US Senate hopeful Edward J. Markey held a conference call today pushing back against attacks from Republican Gabriel E. Gomez that the Markey was weak on homeland security.
Gomez attacked Markey, a Malden Democrat, on Monday for being one of 16 congressmen to vote against a 2004 resolution that expressed sympathy to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and lauded first responders and international allies.
Gomez also knocked Markey for being one of 22 congressmen to vote against a similar 2006 measure. Markey has said he voted for eight resolutions supporting 9/11 victims, but opposed those two because they were politicized.
"Gabriel Gomez has launched a very political attack against Ed Markey," Markey communications manager Giselle Barry said on the call today. "Congressman Markey has a very rich, proud record on homeland security."
She cited his backing of an airline cargo security bill and other pieces of post-9/11 pieces legislation.
John Feal, a 9/11 first responder and advocate, and Edward A. Kelly, the president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts joined the call with reporters and voiced support for Markey.
Feal said Markey had been there for 9/11 victims and first responders.
"For Mr. Gomez to do this," Feal said, "it's sad that they use 9/11 like this."
"Ed has distinguished himself in his career in Congress," Kelly added.
Markey said he opposed the 2006 resolution because it included a reference to the Patriot Act, which he was working to phase out at the time. He said he opposed the 2004 resolution because it implicitly linked the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq.
The 2004 resolution included language noting the victories of the United States military in Iraq alongside proclamations of support for 9/11 victims.
"Whereas to date United States Armed Forces...have killed or captured 43 of the 55 most wanted criminals of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq," the resolution read.
Gomez and Markey are on the ballot in the June 25 special election to replace John F. Kerry, now the secretary of state.