The Salem News
---- — To the editor:
I watched in amazement as Congressman John Tierney took to the airways to attack Richard Tisei as a right-wing extremist, an accusation so absurd as to be laughable. Richard Tisei has been my colleague, and a great friend, for more than 20 years. He is the epitome of everything we would want in a public servant — honest, dedicated, energetic and reasonable.
I served, literally, alongside Richard Tisei in the Massachusetts Senate. We occupied adjacent seats in the Senate chamber. From this vantage point, I had the opportunity to see how hard, and effectively, Richard Tisei served his constituents. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer halfway through my first term, I had the opportunity to see what kind of man he is. I had the daunting task of facing a mastectomy and months of chemotherapy while in the public eye. There was never a day when Richard Tisei failed to provide assistance, encouragement and support.
When I left the Senate to focus on my recovery, Richard remained a loyal friend. He was there to support me when the cancer recurred a few months later. And again, a few years later, when I was diagnosed with cancer for a fourth time. I wasn’t a senator then; I was just a woman facing a health care crisis.
Later, I fought for patients’ rights as the head of the state medical board, and I always had an ally in Richard Tisei. He fought tirelessly to support our efforts to make health care safe and patient-focused.
During the past few months, I have undergone extensive open-heart surgery to correct life-threatening cardiac damage from all the cancer treatments. And despite the rigors of running for Congress, Richard Tisei is still a caring and supportive friend. Somehow, between campaign stops, he still finds the time to call to see how my recovery is progressing and to offer his help. Although I remind him that his time might be better spent responding to the scurrilous lies being spewed by John Tierney, Richard always tells me not to worry. He knows that people will recognize the lies for what they are.
So, I want John Tierney to know that he is right. Richard Tisei is an extremist. He is extremely passionate in his support for cancer patients. He is extremely fervent in his commitment to women’s health. He is extremely unyielding in his willingness to work to make our communities better. Richard Tisei is extremely intolerant of lies and hypocrisy, and that is why he should be our next congressman.
Nancy Achin Audesse