Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey met with African-American clergy members in Springfield Tuesday. Markey, a Democrat, is running in the special election to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.
Clergy and executive members of the NAACP met with Markey to discuss the congressman’s positions on issues that effect the Springfield community. The discussion covered education, incarceration rates, gun control, and the economy. Reverend Talbert Swan of Spring of Hope Church says Markey spoke about the looming federal budget cuts know as the sequester, which will automatically go into effect next week if congress does not find a way to avert them.
“And those cuts would affect those particular programs that are very vital to communities of color. Cuts to education, cuts to health care, without touching the defense budget.”
Swan did not say whether Markey specified any proposals to deal with the sequester. Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon, president of the Council of Churches of Greater Springfield, says Markey’s discussion of gun control stood out in the meeting. He says Markey is in support of banning assault weapons.
“But we’re particularly concerned in our community that it’s just not another political piece, but really getting down to the grassroots of how these guns get into our community, how they’re affecting us, and have been affecting us for many, many years. Pastors – we deal with it. We bury these young folks that are dying and shot on corners and streets.”
No clergy members explicitly endorsed Markey at the meeting. Swan says similar meetings will be held with all other candidates vying for the senate seat. Democratic and Republican primaries are scheduled for April 30th, and the special election will be held June 25th.