EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 18, 2012

Tierney-Tisei battles dominate Chamber debate

NORTH ANDOVER — Former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei made sure the subject of death and taxes came up last night as he engaged with incumbent Congressman John Tierney.

“If you’re going to die, you ought to do it before the end of the year,” the Wakefield Republican quipped, making a reference to a rising estate tax — one of numerous taxes that he says overburden Americans.

The comment drew loud laughter from the crowd in the North Andover High School auditorium where the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted a debate for the 6th Congressional District candidates.

It was one of the lighter moments of the hour-long forum, which escalated into more sparring between the two adversaries.

Tierney, D-Salem, who is seeking a ninth term in Congress, got in the last words of the evening and may have drawn some of the loudest boos when he branded Tisei as “a Tea Party Republican,” a reference that he’s made repeatedly during their often-vicious campaign.

Much of the debate featured a continuation of the ongoing Tierney-Tisei battle, overshadowing the third candidate — Libertarian Daniel Fishman of Beverly, a computer software writer who specializes in programs aimed at improving special education.

But Fishman, who portrays himself as the common man’s candidate, made the most of separating himself between his two sparring opponents.

“If you send these guys to Washington, it’s a vote for exactly the same government we’ve had for the last 100 years. It’s a vote for exactly the same process,” Fishman said.

The debate focused on the high cost of energy, health care, how to create jobs in the district, taxes and the national debt — primary issues of concern to the business community.

Moderator Sal Lupoli, owner of the Riverwalk complex on Merrimack Street in Lawrence and chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, repeatedly warned the audience that their frequent outbursts, either jeering or cheering the candidates, would take away time that could have been spent on asking candidates additional questions.

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