But the Lynn vote would prove to be very crucial as Congressman John Tierney bested Tisei by a wide margin in the city, carrying the 16-year incumbent to a hard-fought victory over the former state senator in an exciting, down-to-the-wire election.
Tisei, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination in the Sixth District, would not face off against Tierney until November, pending a Tierney victory over Democratic challengers, Seth Moulton and Marisa DeFranco in the primary.
But Tisei is already running hard and making a concerted bid for voter support in Lynn. One could sense the enthusiasm and optimism of Tisei supporters at the grand opening of the candidate’s headquarters on Route 1 South in Peabody. State Rep. Donald Wong, who represents part of Lynn, was among the many people who attended the event.
Tisei feels he can help Lynn residents in an impactful way if he were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November.
“My No. 1 goal is to help jump-start the economy and to make it easier for people in Lynn who need jobs to be able to get them,” said Tisei. “I also want to be able to assist municipal officials with their long-term plans and goals to help develop the city economically in any way possible.”
Tisei said he has been following the administration of Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and monitoring the progress of the city.
“She was just re-elected so I think she has a lot of people who believe she’s moving the city in the right direction. I’ve been talking to a lot of officials in Lynn about some of the things that they think need to be done in the city in the long run.”
Tisei, in the interview with the Lynn Journal editorial board, reiterated his point that jobs are the prime issue in the campaign across the entire district.
“The No. 1 issue that I hear from people anywhere I go is jobs and economic development. I think it’s really important that the type of jobs that are being created allow people to live, work, and raise a family in cities like Lynn and other communities throughout the district. And that is probably the biggest obstacle facing people right now and the fact that our middle class is shrinking, not growing larger.”
Tisei added that between increased health care, energy, and food costs and the lack of good jobs, “the middle class has fallen backwards rather than prospered over the last few years and I think a lot of that is the policies that have come out of Washington that have created obstacles rather than helping people.”
He feels there is plenty of opportunity for growth in Lynn.
“I know there are a lot of people in Lynn who feel the future of the city lies in development along the seacoast,” said Tisei. “I think the launching of ferry service was very positive for the city.”
Tisei said he met with management at General Electric in Lynn to learn about some of the challenges that are facing the plant.
“It’s gone from having 20,000 employees years ago to 3,000 now. As a country, we need to change our tax code so we reward companies that bring back jobs to the United States and bring resources back in to communities like Lynn as far as investments go toward new factories and machinery. That’s one of things I’m going to try to work on.”
Tisei said he has received a very positive reaction to his campaign and his message during his visits to Lynn.
“It’s been very positive. I feel that people are ready for a change. A lot of people are frustrated because they don’t accept what I would call ‘the new normal’ that we’ve been dealing with. “And that’s very slow economic growth, very few jobs being created, and people falling backwards rather than moving forward economically.
“They recognize that after six years of this administration’s policies that these policies are not working. People are patient but after six years, I think most people are recognizing that we can do a lot better than we’re doing right now.”
And Tisei is hoping that voters across the district will allow him to effect some change in Washington.
“This is an opportunity – the only way you can change things is through your elected representatives. The policies that John Tierney promotes, which are higher taxes, more regulations, laws that end up hurting people economically – there is a different way to do things.”
Tisei pointed out a law that he believes “really hurts people, especially middle class people in Lynn.”
“In Obamacare, there is a provision of the law that says if you own a company and have more than 50 employee, you have to pay health insurance. But the way a full-time employee is defined in the law is anybody who works 30 hours or more. So in effect, what has happened is that Obamacare has redefined the work week from 40 hours to 30 hours and there are very few jobs that are being created in retail that are full-time jobs. Retailers like Staples and Home Depot are creating jobs that are 29 hours. People are frustrated because you need two jobs right now to support your family rather than one.”
Tisei said that as a Republican he could bring a lot to the state’s Congressional delegation.
“We don’t have one member of the delegation right now who is a member of the majority who can actually get things done in Washington that are very Massachusetts-specific. I was fortunate enough to have been in the state Legislature for 26 years and served with Steve Lynch and Bill Keating. I’ve known Mike Capuano since he was a staff member in the House of Representatives on the taxation committee. I’ve known Ed Markey since I was in high school. I think I can add something to the delegation because all of our congressmen are in the minority right now. And they’re having a hard time getting things done for the state.”
Tisei said that if he is elected he will ask to be appointed to the House Armed Services Committee.
“Not only the jobs at GE, but there are companies throughout the North Shore that are also dependent on other defense spending in general. Hanscom Air Force Base alone employs 18,000 people in the congressional district. I agree with the Boston Globe. Not only has the state lost clout but the Sixth Congressional District has lost clout because Congressman John Tierney chose not to continue the tradition of being on the Armed Services Committee.”
Tisei said he has assembled a diverse group of supporters that he will campaign with in Lynn. One prominent official whom he has reached out to is Lynn School Committee member Rick Starbard.
“I’ve talked to Rick and he’s been very supportive,” said Tisei. “My campaign volunteers and I have started our door knocking campaign in the district and we’ll probably be in Lynn within a couple of weeks. I’m going to try to do as much of the personal touch that I can. I represented Malden, which is a city just like Lynn for 20 years, and did an awful lot to help the school system, economic development and help people individually. People elected me 10 times in Malden where there are only 6 percent registered Republicans.”
“Where people knew me in the last election, I was fine but in Lynn it was a little harder because people didn’t get to know me that well. I think people recognize that we can’t keep going on the way we are. People aren’t doing better right now. They’re doing worse and we should try something new. People are open to making a change. I have to spend time meeting people on a one-on-one basis and making them feel comfortable. Lynn is very important to me and to this campaign.”