Markey backs Clinton a day after she shines in debate

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BOSTON – Hillary Clinton gained Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey’s backing Wednesday, less than 24 hours after her winning performance in the first Democratic presidential debate.

“Hillary has spent her career fighting for American families and working to ensure they can achieve their American Dream,” Markey said in a statement posted on his website late Wednesday. “She understands the challenges facing our nation – college affordability, income inequality, access to affordable health care – and has real plans for how to address them.”

Markey, the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation until he was elected to the Senate in June 2013, joined a bevy of Bay State pols in supporting Clinton’s campaign. Clinton, President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state, has picked up endorsements from other Bay State political figures, including U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy and state Attorney General Maura Healey.

Clinton came through the initial Democratic debate unscathed, with what many observers said was a decisive performance that eased concerns among her supporters about her ability to win the nomination. Markey also praised the former first lady and New York senator for taking stands on issues that matter in Massachusetts and around the nation.

“She is the only candidate to release a comprehensive strategy to address the prescription drug and heroin epidemic that is destroying communities in Massachusetts and throughout this country,” the Bay State’s junior senator said in announcing his endorsement. “And I believe there is no one better to lead the effort to combat climate change here at home against the climate deniers and around the world as we partner with other nations to implement clean energy solutions.”

“Hillary Clinton is a trailblazer, a leader and my choice to be the next president of the United States of America,” Markey said.