Brown, Warren Face Off in Mass. Senatorial Race
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
While the biggest race in this fall’s headlines has been of the presidential kind, there will be a number of elections for legislative seats next Tuesday. In Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown will try to maintain his seat against challenger Elizabeth Warren.
Brown, a former Republican in the Massachusetts State Senate, made headlines two years ago when he won a special election to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. Despite being a relative unknown in comparison to his opponent, Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Wakefield, Mass. native emphasized his position as a true man for the people by driving from town to town in his GMC pickup truck. Warren, a Democrat, has a strong history in working with the recent financial crisis and as a professor of American bankruptcy law at Harvard Law School. She is most known for her role as a special advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates consumer protection for U.S. domestic goods and services.
Brown, as the incumbent candidate, has a strong history of bipartisanship in the Senate. Despite being a freshman senator, Brown was able to make some headway on major legislation. He was able to balance legislation that was key to his constituents in Massachusetts with those issues that extended beyond the state level. He issued the “Hire a Hero” bill, which incentivized small businesses to hire veterans. As an acting member of the National Guard, Brown has worked to support American troops, as well as struggling veterans. In an even more controversial act, Brown’s first piece of legislation was the STOCK Act, which would ban insider trading by members of Congress. He worked closely with President Barack Obama to incorporate the bill, which ultimately proved his independence, as well as his dedication to fairness and justice.
Warren, although having never served as a legislative member, has a strong background in politics. The federal government has sought her opinion and service as an advisor to several projects surrounding the financial crisis. Her work was instrumental in forming the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was implemented to regulate everything from backs and financial to mortgages and student loans. She was passed over for director of the program, however, because Obama felt that she would be unable to overcome strong Republican opposition.
Heading into Election Day, both campaigns have been extremely negative and critical of their opponent. The two sides have looked to expose the other as inadequate and out of touch with the goals of the constituency. Several key issues surrounding the election have been healthcare, tax policy, and immigration, and the candidates have significant differences in all issues.
In terms of immigration, Warren was a major proponent of the Department of Justice’s decision to give two-year work visas to illegal immigrants who have graduated from high school or served in the military, resided in the United States for at least five years and have no criminal history, while Brown opposes this decision as a catalyst for future immigration issues. Similarly, Warren is a proponent of the DREAM Act, which would similarly allow young illegal immigrants to remain in the country, while Brown asserts that such a proposition would be a form of “amnesty.”
As for the debate on tax policy, Brown and Warren have argued intensely on how to best handle the economy. Brown pledged to not raise taxes in his first Senatorial race, and has continued to stay true to that. Warren’s policies, on the other hand, fall more along her party’s track of increasing taxes for specific thresholds of the economy. Brown has refused to vote on any legislation that includes the continuation of the tax cuts, unless all classes are included. Warren, as with most Democrats, believes that tax cuts should be expanded for those earning $250,000 or less annually, while the current Bush-era tax cuts should stop for those earning more than that designation.
Healthcare continues to be a polarizing issue for members of Congress, and this proves no different for the Massachusetts Senatorial race. Brown opposes the Affordable Care Act, and has stated his belief that healthcare should be an issue of the state level. In 2010, Brown ran on the issue of opposing Obama’s healthcare reform, and he gained strong state support for this stance. He also introduced a bill that looked to repeal the tax implemented by the healthcare law, however it has not been passed by the Senate. Warren has been a major proponent of the federal health care reform.
While the major headline heading into Election Day remains the presidential election, members of the Bay State will also have a decision to make at the state level. Both candidates have proved themselves extremely devoted to the needs of their constituents, and there is no lack of experience with either. Brown and Warren provide very different overall goals and positions on the issues, however. The vote of the moderate will prove significantly more important in this one, as this will truly be an election won on the issues.