‘An Egregious Attack on Our Democracy': Local Lawmakers Sound Off on FCC's Net Neutrality Vote

New England politicians were quick to react Thursday to the Federal Communications Commission's vote to unravel sweeping net-neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet.

"This is an egregious attack on our democracy," independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Twitter. "The end of #NetNeutrality protections means that the internet will be for sale to the highest bidder. When our democratic institutions are already in peril, we must do everything we can to stop this decision from taking effect."

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he was "deeply disappointed" by the FCC's decision. "This will make it more difficult for residents & businesses to have fair and equitable access to the internet," he added.

"A free and open internet should be the standard, not something we have to fight for," Democratic Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton said. "This ruling sends us down a dangerous path, where a few large corporations can control access to something Americans and small business owners rely on every single day."

"The ONLY people benefitting from the repeal of #NetNeutrality are massive corporations that are already reaping in enormous profits," Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on Twitter. "They want to end the internet as we know it to create a digital oligarchy that serves the wealthy few."

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, said the decision is "not acceptable," and said she will continue fighting for priorities "that put consumers first and help small businesses innovate and thrive."

Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said she is "very concerned" by the FCC's decision. "I urge the FCC to reconsider and recommit to upholding the principals of a free and open internet," she said.

Another New Hampshire Democrat, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, said she strongly opposes the result of the vote and will work to restore net neutrality protections.

"The Internet has allowed the proud tradition of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship to reach every corner of the globe," she said. "Its openness has enabled a new generation of New Hampshire innovators to turn a bright idea and a laptop into a business. We can’t stand by as the FCC and big corporations steal our right to equal access."

Independent Maine Sen. Angus King called the vote "a monumental mistake."

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, said the FCC "took a wrecking ball to the pillars of freedom and openness upon which the Internet was built." He added that the decision "has been a rushed, cynical and slipshod process that has been fundamentally flawed," and said the FCC has "shown a shocking disregard for the overwhelming input from the public, choosing instead to listen only to those with the deepest pockets."

Democratic Vermont Rep. Peter Welch said the vote is "a disaster for consumers," and said he plans to introduce legislation that will overturn the decision.

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, said he was "deeply disturbed" by the vote and will continue fighting to change the law and restore net neutrality.

Democratic Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said the vote doesn't represent the voices of thousands of residents who told her they want to keep the internet free and open.

"Trump's FCC just ignored millions of Americans who spoke up for internet freedom, and sided with giant corporations," Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern said. "This fight is far from over."

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