6th District Democratic Primary Candidates Debated Yesterday at Middlesex Community College

Candidates Marissa
Democratic primary candidates for the 6th District’s seat in the US Congress debated at Middlesex Community College yesterday. Candidates (l-r) are Marissa DeFranco, John Devine, Seth Moulton and incumbent John Tierney. Image (c) Doris Smith, all rights reserved

By Doris Smith, Member Bedford Democratic Town Committee

A debate among four of the five Democratic Primary candidates running for the US House of Representative in the Sixth Congressional District was held at Middlesex College in co-operation with the Lowell Sun News. Candidates included incumbent John Tierney, Marissa DeFranco, John Devine and Seth Moulton. John Gutta was not present.

Questions for debate included the cost of education, the New England fishing industry, the Market Basket situation, Iraq, the dysfunctional US Congress, immigration, affordable health care and gun control.  When asked if the 6th District is better off now than it was two years ago, incumbent John Tierney answering “some” while all other candidates replied in the negative.

All spoke of the need to relieve student debt by making education loans more affordable and questioned rising tuition costs.  Seth Moulton said that New England fishermen desire a sustainable fishing industry, but the government has failed them. He pointed out the success of the New Bedford scallop trade as a viable model.

When asked about sending troops to Iraq to help fight ISIS, Marissa DeFranco said she would be in favor of sending more troops.  She referenced events in Rwanda and said we do not want a repeat of those.

When John Devine spoke of the failure of Congress to govern, he said there needed to be a change in the culture of Congress.  He also supports campaign finance reform.

On immigration reform, all were in agreement that there is a need for a comprehensive immigration bill.  Agreement came again when candidates were asked about the need for fair wages.  All spoke of the need to raise the minimum wage and the need for tax reform.

Marissa DeFranco was the only candidate to advocate for equal pay for women although when the topic was raised all indicated support.

During the discussion about school shootings and the lack of firearm reform following such incidents, Seth Moulton spoke of his experience with [military] weapons in Iraq, saying that kind of weapon has no place on our streets. John Devine talked about gun control as a mental health issue, which was rebutted by Marissa DeFranco saying that gun violence is often committed by criminals.

During closing statements, John Tierney spoke of his pride in the service that his office has provided to his constituents, the legislation that he helped pass and authored and the support he has from teachers, fire, police and small business owners.

Moulton said that real leaders are those who get things done and that he feels the 6th District needs a change in leadership and a candidate that can defeat Republican candidate Richard Tisei.

The debate was interesting and informative providing important insight about each candidate and their stands on the above issues.  More events like this for voters would be helpful in making decisions about who to support in the upcoming September 9th Primary.

Editor’s Note: The Citizen seeks a reporter to cover the Republican candidates in the 2014 primary and general election. If you are interested, please send an email to thebedfordcitizen@gmail.com.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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