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Markey says he plans to reach across Senate aisle

At Dempsey’s Breakfast amd Lunch in Medford, Edward J. Markey greeted former state Representative Anthony Giglio,
At Dempsey’s Breakfast amd Lunch in Medford, Edward J. Markey greeted former state Representative Anthony Giglio,Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A day after winning a special election sprint that lasted less than six months, US Senator-elect Edward J. Markey shrugged at the idea that he would have to stand before voters again in just 17 months.

“I’ve been running every two years, so this is part of who I am, actually, as a candidate,” Markey said in a telephone interview from Washington, where he had returned Wednesday afternoon for House votes. “This is the cycle that I’ve been on for my entire career.”

The 37-year House Democrat from Malden, who outpaced GOP nominee Gabriel E. Gomez by 10 percentage points, said he plans to follow the model established by previous Massachusetts senators.


Pointing to Edward Kennedy, Paul Tsongas, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry, whose seat he will fill, Markey said, “They worked hard to put together bipartisan legislation that helped Massachusetts and helped the country. I intend on following in that tradition.”

He was also reflective about his personal milestone. The victory, he said, prompted him to think of his parents and the “improbable story” of a milkman’s son joining the Senate.

Markey predicted that his long House tenure would help him broker legislative compromises and said he is friendly with several GOP senators, among them Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who campaigned for Gomez.

Markey said he plans to work in the Senate to pass legislation establishing a privacy policy for domestic drones, before as many as 20,000 such aircraft are launched to conduct stateside surveillance. Calling it an issue that defies ideological boundaries, Markey said he would look to work with conservatives such as Senator Rand Paul, the libertarian Kentucky Republican.

The bill, he said, would be similar to a House version he has filed, requiring public disclosure of where the drones fly, who is operating them, and what type of data they collect.


FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress this month that unmanned aerial vehicles already collect data over US soil on a limited basis. Government surveillance has garnered fresh scrutiny following disclosures about extensive, sanctioned government snooping.

“They could be hovering over people’s backyards and collecting information about a private citizen without any knowledge by that family, with their children in the backyard, and I just think it’s important that there be standards,” Markey said.

He acknowledged that contemporary Washington and the Senate are different than when he arrived four decades ago.

“I believe that if you work hard and try to reach across the aisle, you can be successful,” Markey said. “I’ve done that my entire career, and I expect to be one of the people working hard to ensure that the institution, once again, returns to that tradition. But the institution needs people who are going to be working hard to make it work. And I have experience in accomplishing that. But to complete the thought, I also have no illusions.”

At a Medford diner, Markey greeted supporters. Wednesday marked his 25th wedding anniversary, and he said he and his wife, Dr. Susan Blumenthal, celebrated by dancing to “My Girl” shortly after midnight.

In the telephone interview, Markey demurred when asked whether he thought Gomez, who was urged Tuesday night to seek a rematch with Markey next year, has a future in Massachusetts politics.

“That’s for him and his family to decide,” Markey said. “I would not be able to say, you know, what he and his family would ultimately want to do.”


Pressed on whether he felt the need to cut a more stimulating figure in Washington, after a campaign during which Democrats acknowledged he had not generated the excitement of previous candidates, Markey deflected the question.

“I think the voters were excited about the issues,” he said. “That is, ultimately, what drives campaigns, what energizes the politics of our state, and I found enormous enthusiasm around all of the issues that I was highlighting in the campaign. And I think that’s really what it’s all about. I think it’s about the issues, and that’s what drives people.”

Joshua Miller contributed to this report. Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at James.OSullivan @ globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.