I first met John Tierney in 1995 when he asked if I would consider helping him in his run for Congress. I agreed and have chaired the finance committee for his successful campaigns since then. Over this time, I’ve consistently found John to be a bright, hardworking, honest fellow, and a passionate and effective representative for our District. Despite the power and glitter of the position, he’s also never changed, remaining the same down to earth guy from a modest, middle class family.
Given what I know about John it pains me to see him attacked, and so unfairly and savagely in this campaign. I say “unfair” because the assertion that John knew of the crimes of his brothers in law and his wife’s “willful blindness” is just not true. If there was even a scintilla of evidence against him, be assured that the zealous Federal prosecutor who pursued John’s wife would have included a sitting Congressman in those indictments in a heartbeat. Furthermore, the Federal District Court Judge in Patrice Tierney’s case went so far as to state on the record that John Tierney had no involvement whatsoever in the matter. Yet John’s Republican opponent, sensing a political opportunity, has made John’s “involvement” the centerpiece of his campaign supported by a $3 million dollar nasty advertising blitz from the far right Republican “Young Guns” Super Pac of Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.
The focus of this election, however, shouldn’t be about John Tierney’s family or about Richard Tisei’s father and mother or his sister and their problems. Rather, it needs to be about our families and how they are affected by the enormous differences between the Democratic and Republican parties on the great issues of the day. Democrats support investing in affordable and accessible education and job retraining, adequate funding for Medicare and Social Security and for rebuilding our public infrastructure; while Republicans would greatly reduce or eliminate such support to fund further tax cuts for the wealthy and additional trillions for the military budget that the military leadership has not requested. Democrats support a tax policy where everyone including the very wealthy fairly shares the burden; while the Republican party insists on extending the Bush tax cuts to ensure the Romneys of the world a tax rate of 14% on $20 million dollars, while their secretaries pay twice that. Democrats support equal rights for women including pay and control of their bodies and Roe v. Wade; while the Republican party supports none of that. Democrats support regulations and oversight over big business including Wall Street; while the Republican party does not, claiming it stifles business. Democrats support a foreign policy that emphasizes cooperation, discussion, negotiation; while the Republicans insist on an aggressive “my way or the highway” posture.
If the Republican party positions sound familiar, they should, because they represent the same policies of the Bush administration that brought us to the brink of a financial collapse of epic proportions, the dramatic widening of the gulf between the wealthy and our middle class, the enmity of the international community, and into two wars with the loss of over 5,000 American lives and thousands of critical injuries.
Whatever party we agree with, the resolution of those great issues along with other substantive differences is what this election is all about. And make no mistake about it, as lifelong members of the Democratic and Republican parties, both candidates will support the policies of their parties despite any statements to the contrary by Richard Tisei as to his independence from the very people to whom he is now so indebted.
John Tierney has been an effective and passionate voice for the 6th District and for the issues that most of us hold dear. Let’s return him to Washington to continue this important fight with a Democratic majority in the House that will break the logjam of the last two years. This seat may well be the difference!
Barry Y. Weiner
90 Apple Street
Essex, MA 01929