Joe Biden’s visit to Brayton Point in Somerset on Wednesday was the first time a sitting president has visited the South Coast in 26 years.
Brayton Point is a former coal-fired plant that was one of the most environmentally hazardous in the Commonwealth. It will soon be a major manufacturer for wind power in the clean energy sector.
It was on the site of the soon-to-be manufacturing campus with the backdrop of the Taunton River and Braga Bridge connecting to the Fall River skyline where Biden delivered one of the defining speeches of his climate agenda.
Biden traveled to Brayton Point on Air Force One. He took along with him key members of the Massachusetts legislative delegation: Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Bill Keating and Congressman Jake Auchincloss, who represents Somerset in the 4th Congressional District.
“The future of clean energy is being built in many places by many people.” Auchincloss said he South Coast Tonight after the trip to Brayton Point. “But Massachusetts leads the way. And Brayton Point is a prime exemplar of how and why clean energy is our future. It’s a future in which we are going to leave the planet better than we found it for our kids and our grandkids so they’ we’re not faced with the kind of tradeoffs we’re faced with today.”
He added: “I’m proud that the president chose Brayton Point. It, I do think, represents that I have been an outspoken force on clean energy and climate action. But much more importantly it represents what the people in Somerset and innovators and visionaries, really, have seen more than a decade.”
Auchincloss recounted the logistics of the trip from DC back to his home district.
The group first met at the White House, then traveled to Joint Base Andrews. Biden and the legislative delegation boarded the Air Force One plane used for shorter flights, which is smaller than the iconic 747 often shown in the media.
“That one’s still pretty sweet.” Auchincloss said. “Certainly better than my commuter flight on American Airlines weekly between Boston and Washington.”
On the ride up, Auchincloss said he, Keating, Warren and Markey had a conversation with the president and his staff discussing climate legislation. Auchincloss specifically mentioned district concerns to Biden’s staff, such as an amendment in the Coast Guard reauthorization bill that would harm the offshore wind industry, and expressed confidence that concerns with the amendment would be addressed.
So far in Auchincloss’ first term as congressman, he has toured his district with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and now Biden. Auchincloss said he’s also spoken with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about visiting the district to discuss ongoing concerns with commuter rail in Massachusetts.
“I’m always going to use the office and use the chance to engage with decision-makers here in Washington to highlight issues of concern for the district.” Auchincloss said. “That’s the job. I’m working for people in Massachusetts. And that’s what I’m focused on.”
Listen to Rep. Auchincloss’ full interview with Chris and Marcus:
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