The crowd didn’t listen.
So, the candidates only got five questions — including one from the audience.
But the event did allow each of the candidates to highlight their positions on business-related issues of local interest. The district includes North Andover and several precincts in Andover. Other area communities represented include Boxford, Georgetown, Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury.
Tisei and Fishman highlighted concerns about the economy in their opening remarks.
“A child being born today will ultimately be responsible for $60,000 in debt before they ever take their first step,” Tisei noted. He also stressed a need “to stop all the name-calling.” A bipartisan effort was needed to turn around the economy, he said.
Fishman said the U.S. government would never be able to balance the budget if it continued to spend at its current rate.
But Tierney came out swinging from the outset, attacking Tisei, for accepting more than $3 million in campaign money from the Tea Party.
Tisei, who served 26 years in the State House, later castigated Tierney for being “one of the most partisan members of Congress.”
“The reason why the country is in trouble right now, there aren’t enough people who put America first,” Tisei said.
Tisei noted that during Tierney’s 16 years in Congress, “you’re the only one who has sponsored a bill that has never been signed into law.” Despite being a Republican in the state Legislature’s minority, Tisei boasted “I got a lot of bills passed.” He credited his willingness to work with Democratic party members to accomplish his legislative goals.
“I’m not friends of anybody in Congress,” Fishman said. He said his attitude toward correcting the economy and many other problems facing the country is to eliminate federal government interference.
“It cannot be responsible for what’s happening in the local neighborhood,” he said.