Former State Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei will officially announce his run for the state’s 6th District seat in Congress on Tuesday in his hometown of Wakefield.
Salem resident John Tierney currently holds the seat.
“I own a small business, a real estate company, and I’ve been working with people who were really having a hard time, who’ve lost their jobs, who’ve seen their life savings disappear,” Tisei said of his decision to run. “The American dream of home ownership has disappeared.”
One factor in his decision was the state’s redistricting plan, which Tisei said he was waiting to be completed before announcing his run. The district is slated to pick up Tewksbury, Billerica and part of Andover. Those communities have been shown to favor Republicans in recent elections.
“I know a lot of people in those communities, and I understand those communities,” Tisei said. “I don’t think left vs. right matters. I think it doesn’t matter where people are politically right now. Everybody has the same problems. People are concerned about jobs, economic security, the fed government overspending, and the huge deficits.”
Taking on Tierney
If nominated, Tisei plans to focus on those economic and fiscal issues when battling Tierney next year.
“I would say job creation is my top priority,” Tisei said. “Most of the problems we have right now are because we have a stagnant economy. That’s because we’re not creating jobs anymore.”
Tierney faced a nasty campaign battle last year, when he ran against challenger Bill Hudak. That campaign focused greatly on to tax fraud and helping her brother manage a bank account into which money from an illegal offshore gambling business.
But Tisei wants to keep the 2012 election focused on the nation’s unemployment and debt as well as the size of the federal government.
“I think we can improve things, and I really want to offer the voters a clear choice come November,” Tisei said. “[Tierney] is somebody who is in favor of higher taxes, supported all of the overspending, supported all of the excessive regulations, and he supports a bigger and bigger government."
The Hudak Factor
But before he takes on Tierney, Tisei will have to win the Republican nomination. And that isn’t a given. Hudak, popular among conservatives in the district, announced right after the last election that he is running again in 2012.
Hudak, a lawyer from Boxford, was often referred to as a “tea party candidate” and ran an aggressive campaign from the right. at every opportunity, and although he lost with a considerable margin (Tierney won 57 percent of the popular vote) Hudak managed to get the most votes out of every opponent of Tierney's in the past several elections.
Asked what will make him stand out among Hudak and other Republicans who may seek the nomination, Tisei pointed to his record.
“I have a record of being able to get things done,” Tisei said. “I was elected 13 times.”
Tisei, 49, said he is also very mainstream and in-line with most people’s political views in the district.
“I think I have the right temperament to serve the public,” Tisei said. “I’ve lived in this district all my life, and I have a small business here. I have a pretty good track record.”
Born in Somerville and raised in Wakefield, Tisei was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the mid-1980s at the age of 22, making him the youngest Republican ever elected to the legislature at that time.
He was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1990 and became Senate minority leader in 2007. By then, he had become the longest-serving Republican in the legislature.
He ran as Charlie Baker's running mate in 2010 when Baker ran for governor but was defeated by incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick. Tisei stepped down from his Senate seat that year to focus on the gubernatorial campaign.
Tisei will officially announce his candidacy at the Americal Civic Center at 467 Main St. in Wakefield on Tuesday at 11 a.m.