By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Congratulations to Sen. John Kerry, who is getting what he wanted for Christmas, his long-anticipated shot at being secretary of state.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

He has put in his time, done his work, and earned the confidence of his colleagues, as you’ll see when he wins easy, bi-partisan confirmation next month.

We all wish him well, I’m sure. But while Kerry is getting what he wants, what are we getting?

We will now have a special election to fill out the last two years of Kerry’s term, and before we even consider the candidates, keep in mind that it will leave us with the two most junior members of the Senate.

If Congressman Ed Markey, the eighth most-senior member of the House, runs for and wins the seat, it would additionally deprive us of our delegation’s most senior member, just as we’re also losing veterans Barney Frank and John Olver. If it weren’t for Richie Neal out in Springfield, we wouldn’t have a congressmen next year in the top 100.

Lack of seniority doesn’t mean you can’t get anything done, but it does mean less clout. And during the new session we’re going to be needing Congressional clout more than ever.

Even if they do stop the spending cuts that come with the fiscal cliff, there’s talk of another military base-closing round, and federal dollars are going to be fought over hard across the board.

We are going to need every rep and senator to be working full-time on protecting the current funding that’s so important to our state economy, and fighting like banshees for any new money. Not glamorous, I know, but if they can’t get our share of the pie, little else they do will be worth much.

I look forward to hearing the candidates to succeed Kerry explain their credentials and game plan for this.

It may or may not prove to be the defining issue of the race. But if we send someone who doesn’t bring their “A” game to this job, look out below.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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