Former state senator Richard Tisei is off and running in the race for the Sixth District congressional seat.
Since announcing his decision to run last fall, the 49-year-old Tisei has made several appearances in Lynn and he appears to be building support throughout the city.
At the St. Patrick’s Day Hibernians Road Race held last month, Tisei made his way through the crowds and was warmly greeted by runners and other area residents. He said he intends to continue to campaign hard in Lynn and the other 38 cities and towns in the district that extends to the New Hampshire border.
Tisei is regarded as a formidable candidate for the seat currently held by Democrat John Tierney who is in his eighth term. From 1984 to 2009, Tisei won 13 consecutive elections for state representative (six years in office) and state senator (20 years in office) He was the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2010 but he and Charles Baker were defeated by incumbent Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray in the election.
“I had a great experience in that campaign,” said Tisei. “I met people from all over the state and in the district.”
A graduate of Lynnfield High School, Tisei received his degree in Government from American University in 1984. At the age of 22, he won his first election for state representative that year.
Tisei started working as a real estate agent 18 years ago and bought the company, Northrup Associates, 12 years ago.
Tisei said his experience in his own business has helped broaden his horizons and been an asset to his life in public service.
“I learned how to become a good businessman when things got bad,” said Tisei. “My company sells one of our every two houses in Lynnfield. We’re a 60-year-old company. If all I did was just legislative, I don’t think I would have as broad based an understanding of issues. I really get what’s going on in people’s lives.”
It was his work in business that prompted Tisei to consider a run for Congress.
“Seeing in my real estate life what is happening in people’s lives and the fact that there’s this huge disconnect between real world here and what’s happening in Washington right now – I think this election is an historic election; we’re at the point we have to choose a direction,” said Tisei. “There’s so much up in the air right now.”
Tisei left the State Senate as the Senate Minority Leader. He said he was proud of his work in the state legislature on a whistle-blowing bill for health care employees. “The bill provided whistle-blowing protection for health care employees,” said Tisei.
Tisei said that U.S. Senator Scott Brown has endorsed his candidacy. “We’ve been friends for 30 years,” said Tisei. “When I first ran for state representative in 1984, he was living in Wakefield and showed up at my headquarters and offered to help. We have been friends since then. I think he’s done a pretty good job as far as being independent minded and that’s the type of congressman I want to be.”
Tisei feels that Tierney has not been an independent voice.
“One of my criticisms of Tierney is – if you look at Congressional Quarterly – he votes 99 per cent of the time with the leadership,” said Tisei. “He’s been a congressman for 15 years and had never passed a piece of legislation, the only member of the congressional delegation not to pass a piece of legislation. He finally ended up passing a bill two weeks ago designating Salem as the official birthplace of the National Guard.
“It’s nice to give the city the recognition but I would think that after 15 years as a congressman you have more to show for your record,” said Tisei.
He has been able to attract a wide base of supporters and fundraisers to his congressional campaign.
“I’ve been visiting the 39 cities and towns and putting together a very solid organization,” said Tisei. “I’ve been going to a lot of events and meeting people.
“I only have to meet about 370,000 people,” he said with a smile. “There are probably 770,000 people, but there are 370,000 voters. People have been having receptions for me and it’s been an excellent response. A lot of people say to me, he’s [Tierney] has been in 15 years, what has he done? We’re ready for a change.”
Tisei said he is looking forward to debating the issues with Tierney during the campaign.
“I would expect that we would have a number of debates,” said Tisei. “I’m looking forward to giving people a clear choice in this election. Rather than voting for the same-old, same-old, people deserve a real choice.”
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy has taken note of Tisei’s candidacy. “Richard Tisei is a great guy and I really wish him well.”