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Democrat

Rep. John Tierney (D)

John Tierney Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-8020

Address: 2238 RHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (978) 531-1669

Address: 17 Peabody Square, Peabody MA 01960-5646

Lynn MA

Phone: (781) 595-7375

Fax: (781) 595-7492

Address: 3 City Hall Square, Lynn MA 01902-1019

John Tierney Staff
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McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
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Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
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Jackson, Sarah
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Jackson, Sarah
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McDermott, Kevin
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McDermott, Kevin
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McDermott, Kevin
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McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Cahill, Sarah
Member Outreach Coordinator
Coleman, Dave
Constituent Representative
Cook, Emily
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent
Frontiera, Rosalyn
Constituent Representative
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
Krevat, Derek
Constituent Representative
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Rubin, Daniel
Communications Director
Rush-Lloyd, Helen
Grants Administrator; Constituent Services Director
Russo, Drew
Outreach Director
Swimm, Darin
Outreach Coordinator
Yingst, Bambi
Executive Assistant; Scheduler
Rush-Lloyd, Helen
Grants Administrator; Constituent Services Director
Rubin, Daniel
Communications Director
Cahill, Sarah
Member Outreach Coordinator
Swimm, Darin
Outreach Coordinator
Rush-Lloyd, Helen
Grants Administrator; Constituent Services Director
Russo, Drew
Outreach Director
Yingst, Bambi
Executive Assistant; Scheduler
Jackson, Sarah
Legislative Assistant
Cook, Emily
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent
McDermott, Kevin
Legislative Director
Coleman, Dave
Constituent Representative
Frontiera, Rosalyn
Constituent Representative
Krevat, Derek
Constituent Representative
Yingst, Bambi
Executive Assistant; Scheduler
Cook, Emily
Staff Assistant; Legislative Correspondent
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John Tierney Committees
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John Tierney Biography
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  • Elected: 1996, 9th term.
  • District: Massachusetts 6
  • Born: Sep. 18, 1951, Salem
  • Home: Salem
  • Education:

    Salem St. Col., B.A. 1973, Suffolk U., J.D. 1976

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1976–96.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    no religious affiliation

  • Family: Married (Patrice)

Democrat John Tierney, first elected in 1996, is a solid ally of labor unions on the Education and the Workforce Committee and is a consistently liberal vote. But the involvement of several of his family members, including his wife, in an offshore gambling ring led to his near ouster in 2012 and contributed to his eventual defeat in a September 2014 primary election, making him the first incumbent House Democrat to lose a primary that season. Read More

Democrat John Tierney, first elected in 1996, is a solid ally of labor unions on the Education and the Workforce Committee and is a consistently liberal vote. But the involvement of several of his family members, including his wife, in an offshore gambling ring led to his near ouster in 2012 and contributed to his eventual defeat in a September 2014 primary election, making him the first incumbent House Democrat to lose a primary that season.

Tierney grew up in Salem in modest circumstances. He worked his way through Salem State College and Suffolk University Law School as a janitor on the night shift and as a clerk at a Boston law firm. For nearly 20 years, he practiced law in Salem. In 1994, he spied a political opening and ran for Congress. The incumbent, Peter Torkildsen, was a Republican elected in 1992 by beating veteran Democrat Nicholas Mavroules, who had been indicted for tax evasion and bribery. In a year highly favorable to Republicans as 1994 was, Torkildsen managed to defeat Tierney by only 51%-47%.

In 1996, Tierney ran again. His ads, along with the AFL-CIO’s, assailed GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican cutbacks in Medicare. He called for health care insurance for children and charged that Torkildsen hadn’t brought sufficient defense dollars to the district. Torkildsen spent $1.1 million, while keeping his promise to accept no political action committee money. Tierney had $776,000 to spend, and he concentrated it on a blitz close to the election. The result was one of the closest races in the country. After several recounts, which stretched into December, Tierney won by 371 votes.

In the House, Tierney has been criticized for his lack of success in getting his bills passed. "The trophy case of Tierney’s legislative accomplishments makes Mother Hubbard’s cupboard look like a food pantry." Boston Globe columnist Thomas Farragher wrote in 2014. His voting record has been among the most liberal in the Massachusetts delegation. But in standing up for his district’s fishing industry, he battled with Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under President Barack Obama, who sought to put in place a new economic system based on privatization known as “catch shares.” The program turned out to be a disaster in the Northeast, and after Tierney and other Massachusetts lawmakers demanded her resignation, she stepped down in December 2012.

His work on Education and the Workforce has included support for alternative paths to teaching, gang- and drug-free schools, and strengthened vocational education. He blasted Republicans in 2012 for seeking to keep college loan interest rates at 3.8% by slashing $12 billion from health care, introducing his own bill to finance the student loan program extension by eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies. He has unsuccessfully sought for years to advance his sweeping “Clean Money, Clean Elections” legislation, which would require public financing of elections and free broadcast time for candidates. He also joined Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., in 2009 and 2012 on legislation to set a 16% cap on credit interest rates.

On the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Tierney has raised alarms about safety conditions at the Seabrook nuclear power plant. In the 111th Congress (2009-10), Tierney was the chairman of the panel’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, where he joined Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry in calling for tighter controls on U.S. aid to Pakistan. Tierney’s panel issued a little-noticed but scathing report in 2010 about the use of Afghan warlords to safeguard shipments of supplies to U.S. and NATO troops. Tierney is well connected to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose daughter, Christine Pelosi, once worked as his top aide.

Torkildsen challenged Tierney in a 1998 rubber match, but Tierney won 55%-42%. He faced only token opposition until 2010, when he had to defend against a scandal involving his wife, Patrice. She pleaded guilty to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns for her brother, a federal fugitive indicted for illegal gambling and money laundering. She was later sentenced to 30 days in jail. The congressman insisted he knew of no wrongdoing and posted a detailed explanation on his website.

But his Republican opponent, lawyer Bill Hudak, blasted Tierney for being ignorant of any illegalities, leading Tierney, during one angry debate between the two men, to criticize Hudak for a lawn sign he put up in 2008 likening Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden. Tierney also said Hudak urged a reporter to examine whether Obama was born in the United States. Hudak said the lawn sign was satire and denied being part of the so-called “birther” movement. Voters gave Tierney the benefit of the doubt, and he won with 57%.

Two years later, however, an avalanche of Republican super PAC spending on the gambling issue inflicted far more damage on Tierney. It didn’t help him that his brothers-in-law refuted his denials that he knew nothing about the gambling enterprise. He also drew a strong Republican opponent in Richard Tisei, a former state Senate minority leader who is openly gay and bucked his party by favoring abortion rights and same-sex marriage. He kept pace with Tierney in fundraising and brought up his opponent’s ethics issues, though he had some family troubles of his own—his parents once paid $30,000 in fines for fraudulent business practices. Tierney cast Tisei as an ally of the tea party movement and rallied support from unions.

The long coattails of Obama and Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren enabled him to eke out a 48%-47% victory, with Libertarian Daniel Fishman drawing 4%.

The House Ethics Committee in September 2013 voted to end its review of Tierney's case. But the next year, Tierney again was seen as highly vulnerable. He drew a respected primary challenger in Seth Moulton, a former Marine and Iraq War veteran. In the months leading up to the September primary election, he and Tierney's two other Democratic rivals emphasized what they said was the congressman's disappointing legislative record over his ethics problems.

Tierney blamed House Republicans for recent gridlock and said he remained proud of his constituent-service work. "Thousands of people come to our office all the time, and know that whether it's a veterans problem or a housing problem, or a Social Security problem or Medicare, they're going to get the kind of attention that they deserve and that we take great pride in providing on that," he said at an August debate. Moulton prevailed 49%-41%; Tierney won his hometown, Salem, by just 12 votes. Awaiting Moulton in the general election was Tisei, who hoped to prevail in a more favorable political climate for Republicans.

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John Tierney Election Results
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2012 General
John Tierney (D)
Votes: 180,942
Percent: 48.34%
Richard Tisei (R)
Votes: 176,612
Percent: 47.19%
Daniel Fishman (Lib)
Votes: 16,739
Percent: 4.47%
2012 Primary
John Tierney (D)
Votes: 28,395
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (57%), 2008 (70%), 2006 (70%), 2004 (70%), 2002 (68%), 2000 (71%), 1998 (55%), 1996 (48%)
John Tierney Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 83 (L) : 17 (C) 78 (L) : 21 (C) 92 (L) : - (C)
Social 73 (L) : 24 (C) 85 (L) : - (C) 80 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 94 (L) : - (C) 89 (L) : 8 (C) 84 (L) : 12 (C)
Composite 84.8 (L) : 15.2 (C) 87.2 (L) : 12.8 (C) 90.7 (L) : 9.3 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC100
LCV9794
CFG1113
ITIC-50
NTU1517
20112012
COC19-
ACLU-92
ACU40
ADA9590
AFSCME100-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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