US Senator Scott Brown brought a message of patience to Quincy today, in a speech focused on jobs and the economy.
It’s a matter of getting both the right and left sides of the political spectrum to work together, something that has become increasingly difficult to do, Brown told the two dozen attendees, including Mayor Thomas Koch,
“We’re in a federal emergency,” said Brown who was invited by the Quincy Career Club to speak at St. Chrystosom's Episcopal Church. “People need to be reminded in Washington that we’re Americans first.”
Despite the three-year economic downturn that the federal government is still slugging their way through, Brown said much is being done.
Job fairs are being hosted across Massachusetts in an effort to end the disconnect between employers and employees.
Congress also has passed the Hire a Hero program to provide tax breaks for businesses that employ veterans, and unanimously supported and eventually passed a repeal of the 3 percent withholding rule, which required federal, state, and local governments to withhold three percent of payments to vendors to ensure that small businesses paid taxes.
Brown recognized, however, that there is still much to be done.
“There’s a lack of regulatory and tax certainty,” Brown said. “People don’t know how to plan. Is it three, six, nine months or three, six, or nine years? The mayors in the city, the businesses, you need a long-term plan to create certainty.”
Additionally, Brown said that the debt crisis, overregulation in several industries (including fishing), finding ways to compete in an international market, and deciphering the role of government are all areas that representatives are working on, however slow a process it may be.
“There are people who are working hard on it. There are people who need to work harder. I’m going to continue to try to find that balance and work with them and try to solve some problems,” Brown said.
The discussion was reassuring to some audience members, such as Kumu Gupta, from Quincy. The former vice chair of the Quincy Republican Committee and current Ward 1 chair, Gupta said she came to hear a first hand perspective of what was going on in Congress.
“I got a better feel. It’s connecting me to the black box out there. It’s good to see the senator is having these job fairs, and the Hire a Hero program – someone needs to think of them, too,” she said.
Others in the audience, such as Joe Coner, from Cohasset, said that although the talk was informative, it leaves a lot unanswered.
“To hear him talk about the sense that Democrats and Republicans need to work together – I know that, but it’s frustrating to hear, and he sounded frustrated, too,” he said.
Unemployed for a few years, Coner said he hopes something can be done in the interim to help spur job growth, such as telling companies that any incentives passed in the future would be retroactive to now.
Others were critical. Kevin Frank, the communications director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said he wanted to know why Brown had voted against three jobs bills, including the Middle Class Tax Cut Act, the Rebuild American Jobs Act, and the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.
Although the senator mentioned the need to resolve the debt crisis, he left without answering questions.