• Has Massachusetts lost its political clout?


    (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - Influential politicians in Massachusetts were once able to secure money for roads and bridges, education, and technology; however, it seems the Bay State is losing clout in Washington, D.C.

    The Big Dig, major universities, states of the art hospitals, defense contracts and construction projects in Massachusetts can be attributed to a delegation of influential lawmakers, including the late Senator Ted Kennedy, retired Congressman Barney Frank, and Congressman John Olver.

    "We were a giant in terms of the congressional delegation just a few short years ago, but now you get the feeling that with these retirements we're going to become something of a political backwater for the United States," Thomas Whalen, an Associate Professor of Social Sciences at Boston University, told FOX 25.

    None of the newcomers like Senator Scott Brown, Congressman Bill Keating, and whomever should win the seat left vacant by Frank, be it Joe Kennedy, III or Sean Bielet, can hold a candle to Frank's 30-year political career.  Frank is also the ranking member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

    Congressman Ed Markey told FOX 25 that he is confident in the deep lineup that comprises the current delegation.  He believes there are enough veterans ready to welcome the newcomers. 

    "It was like that when I arrived years ago, and I was young and then as the years went by and my seniority grew and others like me, they would be able to do the work as the young people develop their seniority," Markey said.

    Sen. John Kerry acknowledges that the retirements of Frank and Olver will definitely have an impact, but says all is not lost. 

    Kerry told FOX 25 that the more senior a politician is, often, directly coincides with the number of relationships that have been formed during their tenure, and in turn, can be used advantageously.

    "If we lose someone on a major committee who is poised to really look out for our interests, then we have a tougher battle asserting those interests and winning some of the funding that we want to win.  It's just a harder battle.  Doesn't mean we can't do it, but it is for sure tough," Kerry explained.

    Congressman Frank declined to comment on the issue.

    Next Up: