Party: Democratic

Incumbent: Yes

Headquarters: 803 Summer St., 2nd floor, South Boston, MA 02210
Phone: (617) 464-1199

Age: 55

Occupation: Congressman

Family: Wife Margaret, daughter Victoria, niece Crystal Shaughnessy.

Town: South Boston

Education: Bachelor of arts degree, Wentworth Institute.
Juris doctorate, Boston College Law School.
Master of public administration, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Experience: Ironworker, president of Ironworkers Local 7.
Labor and employment attorney.
Massachusetts state representative, 4th Suffolk.
Massachusetts state senator, 1st Suffolk.
US congressman, Massachusetts 9th Congressional District.

— Submitted by the candidate

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Why are you running?

"I am running for Congress to stand up for the people of the 9th Congressional District and to bring their collective voice to the table in Washington.

The voters I talk to are tired of partisan gridlock in Washington.

They are tired of extremist positions, on both sides, that do little to reflect their lives and their concerns.

They are tired of elected leaders who worry more about their own Washington careers and less about the people they represent.

They want leaders who will stand up for them and do the right thing for them - not try to fit in with the Washington crowd.

I didn't run for Congress to fit in with the Washington crowd. I don't check with leadership before I vote. I don't check in with the activist groups on either side of any issue.

I check in with the folks I represent and I do my best to reflect their concerns, and their hopes and dreams for their families.

I take the time to read through legislation and understand both the intended and unintended consequences of each bill. And I have always done my best to stand up for the people of my district, and vote with their best interests in mind.

When Wall Street bankers destroyed more than a trillion dollars in retirement funds and savings, I chose to hold them accountable.

When lobbyists wanted to allow big health insurance companies to operate as monopolies, I spoke up.

When George W. Bush tried to privatize Social Security, I fought hard for seniors.

When the Bush White House tried to close down four VA hospitals in the 9th District, I led the effort to keep them open.

During my time in Congress, I have fought for things that really matter to the people of my district - good jobs, a stable economy, Social Security, prescription drug coverage, health care for every family, and world-class education for our kids.

I would like to continue to fight for these things on behalf of the people I represent."

— Submitted by the candidate


The economy

How can the federal government best stimulate the economy?

"The federal government needs to help create the conditions that will induce the private sector to begin lending to creditworthy developers, businesses and consumers.

We accomplished some of this by passing the recent financial services reform legislation. Our financial markets have suffered a loss of confidence at many levels, domestically and internationally, because many market participants have come to believe that US financial institutions lacked integrity.

We are still suffering from that trauma. Bond ratings were proven to be fictitious. Asset values remain questionable. It will take time and patience to rebuild that confidence.

While I supported the stimulus bill, the quick "buck-shot" approach was off-target and inefficient. Instead, the federal and state governments should develop some major projects that are 1) necessary (no make-work projects), 2) viable, and 3) strategically linked to private-sector job creation. Transit-oriented development, next-generation power projects, and major infrastructure projects that are paired with private-sector job creation should be some areas eligible for targeted, but limited, public support.

We need to be smart, deliberate, and committed. Blindly throwing public money at this problem won't make it go away (but it will make the money go away). This will require tight cooperation between Congress and state governors, and there must be a federal vetting process to prevent 'bridge-to-nowhere' projects.

As part of this effort, we also need to make a special effort to put young people to work. It is getting increasingly difficult for new entrants to the job market to find work. A meaningful national job corps in priority areas and inner cities would help greatly."

Bush tax cuts

Will you vote to continue the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush for the top 3% of earners?

"I would oppose extending the tax breaks for high-income earners.

I support President Obama's plan to continue the tax breaks for those individuals making under $200,000 and those families earning less than $250,000.

In these challenging economic times, it makes zero economic sense to raise taxes on the middle class. We should be working to ensure that more families and small businesses are able to keep their hard-earned money."

Federal deficit

If the bipartisan deficit commission says that both spending reductions and revenue increases, including tax hikes, are necessary to reduce the federal deficit to a sustainable level, would you support such a package?

"I cannot commit to supporting any package that I have not seen, and the commission's report will not be available until later this year.

I would oppose any recommendation to privatize Social Security or any drastic cuts to Medicare, which provides health coverage for the elderly, and Medicaid, which covers health costs for the poor.

However, by allowing the tax cuts for the top 3% of earners to expire, I believe we will see a substantial decrease in the deficit."

Health care law

What is your view of the national health care law?

"Its central flaw is that it does very little to reform the current fee-for-service system.

The new law preserves the federal antitrust exemption, which enables insurance companies to operate as monopolies and cartels in restraint of trade. Remember, it is extremely difficult for state insurance commissioners to regulate insurance companies that operate nationally and globally (see AIG) and without competition, prices will remain high.

What the new law did was add 32 million people to the same system that we couldn't afford to begin with.

I remain strongly supportive of true health care reform and the ultimate goal of providing affordable health care for every American, while keeping costs down for those who already have coverage.

However, I opposed the bill that was ultimately put forth. I believe that this legislation, which costs almost $1 trillion, offered little to reform the current skyrocketing costs of the fee-for-service system that is dominated by the insurance industry.

I continue to support the state-sponsored public option that was included in the House health care bill. That version allows each state to establish a true public option, and does not tax health insurance.

One more flaw in the current law is that we should not have allowed individuals to be taxed on the value of their health care coverage. We also let the pharmaceutical companies off the hook and gave the trial attorneys a pass without getting any relief for doctors' malpractice insurance costs.

I continue to have serious concerns about the new law, and even greater concerns about our failure to address the rising costs of health care. I remain committed to working with the president to fix and improve health care for all Americans. The hard work - maintaining wide access to high quality health care and finding a way to pay for this new system - remains ahead of us."

Illegal immigration

Do you agree with Arizona's new immigration law? If not, what should the country do about illegal immigration?

"I believe the Arizona statute violates at least two provisions of the US Constitution: Article 1, which delegates to Congress the responsibilities for immigration, and the Equal Protection Clause included in the 14th Amendment.

While I understand the frustration with illegal immigration and the concerns over border security, immigration policy is clearly a federal issue. If all 50 states were able to set their own immigration policies, the result would be chaos.

There is no question, however, that the immigration system is broken and that the federal government has failed in solving this problem. We need to secure both our northern and southern borders, deal with the employers who hire illegal workers, address the immigration backlog, and find a rational way of dealing with the estimated 11 million immigrants who are here illegally.

Only by addressing all of these aspects will it be possible to ensure that our immigration system works for the benefit of our country."


Do you support free trade or fair trade? Why?

"I support fair trade. While trade is an important component of our economy, it is also important that American businesses and workers are on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts.

I am committed to working to improve trade agreements that would benefit American businesses, reduce our nation's trade deficit, and create more jobs for American workers."

Social security

What specific changes would you support to make Social Security and Medicare sustainable over the long term?

"We need to identify and eliminate fraud, which costs the nation billions of dollars annually. We also need to incentivize cost savings within Medicare and Medicaid that will bring down health care costs for all Americans and make Medicare more sustainable over the long term."

Responses gathered through e.thePeople

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