He doesn't consider himself a politician by any means, but Beverly resident Daniel Fishman is nearing the minimum signature requirement in preparation to toss his hat in the ring for the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District.
The 44-year-old Libertarian says he has about 2,000 raw signatures with the August 1 deadline drawing near, and he is confident that he will be able to reach his goal of 3,200 raw signatures. He needs 2,000 certified signatures to get on the ballot.
"I think that one of the problems that we have right now is that people who are running for office really want to get elected, they want the power," Fishman said in a phone interview on Monday. "I believe that we as citizens have to work together to restore to this country what we've lost."
Among what citizens have lost, according to Fishman, the simple right to make decisions for themselves. As central government strengthens, state and local government weakens.
His platform is based on the belief that "common sense requires common people." Having no political experience does not shake Fishman's confidence. He has always had an interest in politics, and his convictions are strong.
"I've always been interested in politics, and what's really been striking me recently is that there is a fundamental disconnect between the direction the country is going and what people think should be happening," Fishman said. "I look at what's happening in terms of the deadlocks that are happening in Congress and there seems to be a complete absence of common sense."
Tierney and Tisei each raised over $400,000 last quarter, and by not taking any corporate money - which he believes have far too much influence on government - Fishman will not be able to hold a candle to either opponent financially. It's part of the reason that getting on the ballot officially is just now coming to fruition, even after he announced the intention in December.
"In the beginning, the government created the corporation to make business work better," Fishman said. "But now, the corporations are creating the government to make business work better, and that's a real conflict of interest."
He hopes that his goal of bringing power back to the common person, and not aligning himself with one of the two major parties - which he believes do more damage by doing things such as halting legislation so that the other side doesn't get credit for doing something good - will be enough to convince people to put their trust in him.
"The two parties are really great at winning elections, but part of the way they win elections is by demonizing the other side," Fishman said. "I believe that the average citizen - the people who compose the parties - are quite reasonable people, however the parties must have extreme members in order to win votes in Congress.
"Republicans will try to stop anything the Democrats do in Congress, the Democrats will try to stop anything the Republicans do in Congress."
The electorate, in Fishman's mind, is more connected and informed than ever before in the social media age, and he sees this as an advantage. While his opponents "oversaturate" with advertisements, he expects his ideas to speak loudly enough that taking the same approach is unnecessary.
Fishman was born in California, and spent his formative years in Texas, but his roots are on the North Shore. His grandparents immigrated to Lynn from Russia.
He spent every summer at Woods Hole, where his father worked as a marine biologist. He moved to Massachusetts in 1994, and took up residence in Beverly in 2003.
"My family has been on the North Shore for a long time," Fishman said. "I have family still living in Salem and Swampscott and Marblehead. We're certainly familiar with the North Shore, I spent a lot of time here as a child...I'm very content here."
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.