SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 30, 2012

Tisei seeking to make history

(Continued)

Unlike many Republicans, however, Tisei has refused to sign Grover Norquist’s famous tax pledge, because he believes that closing loopholes and tax deductions to increase revenue is fair game.

Tisei’s face gets blood-red, and you can almost see the steam coming out of his ears when Tierney alleges — as he has repeatedly — that Tisei is a right-wing extremist.

Many ultra-conservatives consider Tisei a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and have criticized that national party for investing so much time and money to help him win election.

Tisei says he’s been criticized by the right “throughout my whole career, which is why it’s so amazing to hear John Tierney say I am a right-wing extremist. ... It doesn’t make any sense to the people that know me.

“I’ve taken 10,000 votes, so there are a lot of things policy-wise he could disagree with me on instead of painting a caricature of me as some nut.”

Tisei swears he will not be afraid to say no to Republican House Speaker John Boehner, and has told him that to his face. He was independent-minded in the Legislature, he said, and will be the same in Washington. But Tierney says Tisei will be one more vote to empower Republican “zealots.”

“I don’t think he has a clue how the place works down there,” Tierney said in a recent interview. “It’s ludicrous to think a new member will go down there and sway that (tea party) crowd.”

But Tisei says that if he believes something isn’t right for the district, he’ll vote it down, despite the consequences it might have for him in his own caucus.

“The way I look at this, I’m not going to Washington to be there for 10 or 15 or 20 years, or to be there forever. I’m going for a specific mission. Whether it’s a couple terms, I’m going there to straighten out the country,” Tisei said.

“Say we improve the business climate, get the country’s fiscal house in order, and ensure that the programs most important to people are preserved for the next generation. In two or four years, if we’re able to do those things, I’ll feel like we accomplished some things and my mission will be complete.”

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