By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — Five Democratic candidates vying to represent the Sixth Congressional District in Congress are seeking their party’s nomination in the state primary election on Tuesday, Sept. 9.
Congressman John Tierney is trying to fend off primary challengers Seth Moulton, Marissa DeFranco, John Devine and John Gutta. Tierney, who has served in Congress since 1997, barely hung onto his seat during the 2012 election when he ran against former state Senator and Lynnfield High School Class of 1981 graduate Richard Tisei.
Tierney is considered to be the most vulnerable member of the Congressional delegation. His wife Patrice’s brothers, Robert and Daniel Eremian, were indicted in federal court for operating an illegal Internet gambling business in August 2010. Patrice Tierney was charged in U.S. District Court with four counts of “aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns” by Robert Eremian. She later pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, followed by five months of house arrest.
While Tierney maintained that he knew nothing about either his wife’s or his brothers-in-law’s ties to the illegal gambling operation, Daniel Eremian told reporters that the Congressman “knew everything that was going on.” Tierney denied the accusation.
In his campaign for re-election, Tierney has vowed to break up “too big to fail banks,” reign in Wall Street greed and has advocated for re-implementing the Glass-Steagall Act. Passed in 1932, the Glass-Steagall Act prohibited commercial banks from participating in the investment banking business. The law’s repeal in 1999, which Tierney voted against, has been attributed as one of the many causes to the 2008 financial crisis.
Tierney is also a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, Pell Grants for low-income students, marriage equality and equal pay for equal work.
Tierney’s main threat in the primary is Marblehead native and Iraq war veteran Seth Moulton.
Moulton served four tours in Iraq over a five-year period. Moulton told NECN recently, “I didn’t agree with the war in Iraq, but I was proud to serve when my country called.”
Moulton was a member of the first Marine company to enter Baghdad. He also worked to establish a free and independent Iraqi media and was selected to work directly for former General David Petreaus as a liaison to Iraqi military and political leaders.
After completing his final tour, Moulton went back to school and earned a master’s of public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He launched a heath care company, Eastern Healthcare Partners, after moving back to the Sixth District from Texas.
In the primary race, Moulton said “it’s hard to see anything that’s as broken as our Congress.” He said he would work to address income inequality, supports investments in job training and said more has to be done to address America’s crumbling infrastructure. He supports overhauling the Veterans’ Affairs Administration by eliminating the claims backlog.
Moulton supports gun control, gay marriage and is pro-choice. He also said more has to be done to address the impact of climate change and he supports additional funding for Alzheimer’s research.
Moulton also accused Tierney of failing to pass meaningful legislation in his 17 years in Congress.
“We have the least effective Congress in our nation’s history and Congressman Tierney has only passed one bill in 18 years, so he’s one of the least effective congressmen in the country,” Moulton told NECN. “Fundamentally, we can’t fix a broken Congress if we keep sending the same people back.”
Middleton resident Marissa DeFranco, an immigration attorney, is also running for the Democratic nomination for the Sixth Congressional District.
DeFranco has advocated in her campaign creating tax breaks for small businesses. She also advocates placing terms on any money the government gives to financial institutions and supports legislation that would require financial institutions to make low-interest loans with a certain percentage of funds to be allocated to small businesses to increase their access to capital. She also said a “mechanism” needs to be created to make the stock market more stable as the U.S. nears the sixth anniversary of the financial crisis.
The candidate also supports clean energy, incorporating a “public option” in the Affordable Care Act and stem cell research. She also believes now is the time to bring troops home from Afghanistan and supports a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Businessman John Devine is also running for Congress. He has previously worked as a paralegal, taxi driver and even painted houses.
Devine supports a national mental health care policy. He said this would help curb gun violence and suicide. Devine also supports fighting against income inequality, enacting campaign finance reform and overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions. He also supports building a national aqueduct that he says would allow the U.S. to move away from fossil fuels and develop more clean energy.
Groveland resident John Gutta is the fifth and final candidate running against Tierney.
Gutta is the author of a book called “For a Fair America,” which was published in 2011. The candidate believes the country needs to replace the “predatory money-based Mercantilism of 18th Century Europe that Ronald Reagan gave us with the productive labor-based policies of classical (real) capitalism prescribed by rational men — Adam Smith, (Abraham) Lincoln, (John) Locke and (Thomas) Jefferson.”
The candidate supports instituting tariffs on products made by “slave labor abroad and a living minimum wage at home.” He also supports “Jeffersonian geometrically progressive taxes on estate and all forms of personal income, federal regulations that promote fair enterprise, a publicly owned national currency and publicly supported federal lawmakers.”
Gutta believes these policies “would create tens of millions of jobs; provide care for our disabled, sick and elderly; restore our infrastructure and environment; eliminate our national debt; and ensure life supporting after-tax incomes for all.”