John F. Tierney
|John F. Tierney|
|John F. Tierney in 2009.|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th district
January 3, 1997
|Preceded by||Peter Torkildsen|
September 18, 1951 |
|Alma mater||Salem State College (B.A.)
Law School (J.D.)
John F. Tierney (born September 18, 1951) is an American politician who has served as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts since 1997. He is a Democrat representing the state's 6th district, which includes the state's northeastern shore. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Tierney graduated from Salem State College and Suffolk University Law School. He worked in private law and served on the Salem Chamber of Commerce from 1976 to 1997. Tierney first ran for the House of Representatives in 1994 against Republican incumbent Peter G. Torkildsen, losing by a small margin, but defeated Torkildsen in the subsequent election and was sworn in as a U.S. representative in 1997.
A liberal member of Congress, Tierney has voted along with other Democratic Representatives from Massachusetts. He sits on the House Committee on Education and Labor, where his priorities include green energy and increased college access. He has co-authored several pieces of legislation, including the Green Jobs Act of 2007 and College Affordability and Accountability Act of 2008. He is the former chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, where he helped establish the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 1996 Tierney has won re-election in each term by a comfortable margin, although he faced a challenge in 2010 and 2012 after his wife Patrice was convicted of felony tax fraud.
Early life, education, and career
John F. Tierney was born September 18, 1951, in Salem, Massachusetts. His mother, Doris H. (née Gelineau) Tierney, was a Salem native who worked a split shift at the New England Telephone Company, where she remained for 42 years. His father, Albert R. Tierney, was a bookkeeper for Nabisco and a local fuel company. Tierney was one of three children, along with his brother Michael A. and sister Catherine. His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of half French-Canadian and half Irish ancestry. He moved with his family to his grandmother's home when he was five years old. He began working at the Kernwood Country Club in Salem as a caddy when he was 8 and soon adopted a paper route. He later attended Salem High School. When he was young, Tierney campaigned for his uncle, a Peabody ward councilor, and he ascribes his political interest in part to this experience.
Tierney attended Salem State College, majoring in political science. While in college he performed work study, while also stocking shelves at a grocery store, working in sales at a clothing store, and performing deliveries. For three years he was President of his class, and his final year he served as President of the Salem State Student Government Association (SGA). As SGA President Tierney responded to racial incidents on campus by organizing a school-wide meeting leading to several days of discussion. He graduated in 1973, and returned in 2009 to give a commencement address, receiving an honorary degree.
While working as a law office clerk and a State House janitor, Tierney attended Suffolk University Law School. Tierney graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1976, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar. Tierney worked as a solo practitioner until 1981, when he became a partner at the North Shore community law firm Tierney, Kalis, & Lucas. Tierney remained at the firm until taking office in 1997. Tierney served on the Salem Chamber of Commerce from 1976 to 1997, becoming the organization's president in 1995.
U.S. House of Representatives
Tierney first ran for Congress in 1994 against one-term Republican incumbent Peter G. Torkildsen, having won a competitive Democratic primary with a plurality of 33.8 percent. He ran on a platform promoting a stronger federal focus on drug abuse, federal aid to promote after-school programs, consideration of means testing for Social Security, and single-payer health care. A primary issue in the campaign was crime: Tierney criticized Torkildsen for his vote against a 1994 crime bill, and advocated stronger gun control, while Torkildsen criticized Tierney's positions on gun control and drug legalization. Tierney was defeated in the general election by 4%. Tierney successfully ran for Congress in 1996, defeating Torkildsen by a narrow margin and increasing his margin in a 1998 rematch. Over the next five elections, Tierney won with over 60% of the vote. In 2010 he faced a challenge from the Tea Party backed Republican candidate Bill Hudak, after his wife Patrice was convicted of felony tax fraud; he won with 57% of the vote.
In his 2012 race for re-election, Tierney faced former State Senator and 2010 nominee for Lieutenant Governor, Richard Tisei. Tisei, who is openly gay, was endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR). Rep. Barney Frank, a retiring Massachusetts Congressman and the first Congressman to come out as gay, endorsed Tierney, likening the LCR to Uncle Tom, saying that the "Log Cabin hasn't been on the front lines of the fight for equality". Tierney was also endorsed by The Rainbow Times, a Boston-based LGBT newspaper. Tierney won reelection on November 6, 2012, with 48% of the vote to Tisei's 47%.
113th Congress (2013–2015)
Tierney, described as "an unwavering liberal" by CQ's Politics in America, has consistently high approval ratings from Democratic and liberal interest groups such as Americans for Democratic Action, and low approval ratings from conservative groups such as the American Conservative Union. His votes have been closely aligned with the other Democratic representatives from his state. Described as "a favorite of the House Democratic leadership," he maintains a close relationship with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; her daughter Christine Pelosi served as his chief of staff from 2001 to 2005. Tierney was speculated as a candidate to succeed United States Senator Ted Kennedy in a special election after Kennedy's death in 2009, but he decided not to run. In 2010 Washington paper The Hill published a speculation that Tierney, with a $1.3 million war chest, was a likely candidate to run against Kennedy's successor Scott Brown in the 2012 election. Tierney later stated that he would not contest the Senate seat and would instead seek a ninth term as Congressman.
On the House Committee on Education and Labor, Tierney has been an advocate for green jobs. He and Rep. Hilda Solis coauthored the Green Jobs Act of 2007, which allocated $125 million to green jobs training. The bill was incorporated into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and signed into law. Tierney was initially opposed to the Troubled Asset Relief Program proposal of 2008, although he ultimately voted for the bill, saying, "The state of panic in the markets compels Congress to act."
On the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, Tierney has worked to improve higher education accessibility. He co-authored the College Affordability and Accountability Act, which attempts to lower college tuition rates. The House included several of his proposals in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, one which prevented states from cutting education funding as federal aid increased, and one which forgave federal loans for students who went into some public service professions. Throughout his career, Tierney has repeatedly introduced a bill called "Clean Money, Clean Elections", which would create a national, publicly financed clean elections system. With little support in Congress, the proposal has been unsuccessful.
Tierney is a supporter of universal health care. In early 2010, Tierney came under fire from some in his district for his support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Tierney created the Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act, which prohibits companies from curtailing promised retirement benefits.
On March 6, 2013 Tierney walked out on a Committee on Education and the Workforce vote with fellow Democrats in protest of lack of bipartisanship. When asked about their decision, Tierney stated: "Unfortunately, we viewed boycotting this proceeding as our only alternative after many months of repeatedly requesting bipartisan negotiations and being rebuffed by committee Republicans." Tierney has introduced a version of Elizabeth Warren's "Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act" into the House, which would reduce federally subsidized education loans to 0.75%, the rate paid by banks.
Tierney had an active role in congressional oversight of U.S. foreign policy when his party held the majority. He was a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs during the 110th and 111th Congresses. Tierney introduced the 2007 House legislation that created the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan to study government contracting related to the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War. The same year Tierney chaired a congressional hearing over conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The center had been criticized in the press for its dilapidated conditions and inadequate care, as well as for prioritizing a "VIP ward" for non-soldiers. During House debate on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009, In the State Department foreign operations appropriations bill of 2008, the House approved Tierney's amendment to direct $75,000,000 to secular school construction in Pakistan to compete against Islamic madrassas.
Tierney is a critic of U.S. investment in missile defense, and has called for large budget cuts to the Missile Defense Agency. He introduced an amendment to redirect $966 million in funding from missile defense systems to other initiatives such as nuclear non-proliferation. The proposal, opposed by Armed Services Committee leaders as "going too far", was rejected in a House vote.
Tierney dated Patrice M. (Eremian) Chew of Marblehead throughout his 1996 campaign. They married in a small ceremony in April 1997, and now live in Salem, where Patrice works as a jewelry designer. Tierney has three stepchildren from his wife's first marriage. In June 2000, Tierney's stepson John Chew was arrested when about 25 grams (0.9 oz) of cocaine and $1,000 in cash were found in his Marblehead apartment.
Wife's tax fraud conviction
In August 2010, Tierney's wife Patrice's brothers Robert and Daniel Eremian were indicted in federal court for operating an illegal internet gambling business. Robert had allegedly, with Daniel's help, operated the business out of St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda, and funneled a portion of the profits into a Bank of America account in Massachusetts. In October 2010, Patrice was charged in U.S. District Court with four counts of "aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns" by Robert. John Tierney issued a statement announcing his wife's intention to plead guilty, stating that Patrice accepted "full responsibility for being 'willfully blind' to what her brother was doing." Patrice pled guilty on October 6, 2010, and on January 13, 2011, was sentenced to 30 days in prison followed by five months of house arrest. The conviction bolstered the campaign of Bill Hudak, Tierney's Republican opponent in the November 2010 election, but Tierney was re-elected. In June 2012, a federal Judge ordered Daniel Eremian to forfeit $7.7 million in assets for his role in the illegal offshore sports betting scheme. Following his sentencing, Daniel Eremian told reporters that the Congressman "knew everything that was going on," a charge which Tierney rebutted.
|1994||Peter G. Torkildsen (inc.)||Republican||50.5%||John F. Tierney||Democratic||47.4%||Benjamin A. Gatchell||Independent||2.1%|
|1996||John F. Tierney||Democratic||49.3%||Peter G. Torkildsen (inc.)||Republican||49.2%||Martin J. McNulty||Independent||1.6%|
|1998||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||54.6%||Peter G. Torkildsen||Republican||42.4%||Randal C. Fritz||Independent||3.0%|
|2000||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||71.1%||Paul McCarthy||Republican||28.9%|
|2002||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||68.3%||Mark C. Smith||Republican||31.7%|
|2004||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||70.0%||Stephen P. O'Malley, Jr.||Republican||30.0%|
|2006||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||69.7%||Richard W. Barton||Republican||30.3%|
|2008||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||70.5%||Richard A. Baker||Republican||29.5%|
|2010||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||56.9%||Bill Hudak||Republican||43.1%|
|2012||John F. Tierney (inc.)||Democratic||48.2%||Richard Tisei||Republican||47.2%||Daniel Fishman||Libertarian||4.6%|
- "Faith on the Hill: The Religious Composition of the 113th Congress". Pew Forum. November 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012. Though he was raised Roman Catholic, he does not state what he is now.
- Tierney, John F. (2010). "About John." Congressman John Tierney (campaign website). Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- "Doris H. Tierney." Obituary. The Salem News. September 26, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- Liscio, David; Edwards, Susan (Fall 2009). "Educated locally; leading nationally". Salem Statement (Salem State College): pp. 24–25. Retrieved July 3, 2010.
- "House of Representatives." The Boston Globe: p. S4. October 31, 1994.
- CQ Staff (January 4, 1997). "John F. Tierney, D-Mass (6)." CQ Weekly: p. 66.
- Alston, Farnsworth; Carter, Mary Ann; Randolph, Sarah (eds.) (2009). "Tierney, John F." Congressional Directory for the 111th Congress (2009–2010). Washington: Government Printing Office. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-16-083727-2.
- CQ Staff (September 24, 1997). "Sept. 20 Massachusetts Primary." CQ Weekly: p. 2727.
- "Primary choices for Congress." The Boston Globe: p. A18. September 12, 1994.
- Gruenwald, Juliana (October 22, 1994). "Special Elections Report: Massachusetts." CQ Weekly: p. 3027.
- "Office of the House Clerk – Electoral Statistics". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. pp. 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
- "Election Results". Federal Election Commission. pp. 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2010.
- "US House - 6th Massachusetts - Campaign 2010". Boston.com. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
- Frank Phillips (November 20, 2009). "Baker narrows list of running mates". Boston Globe.
- Sarlin, Benjy (September 6, 2012). "Barney Frank Likens Gay Republicans To ‘Uncle Tom’". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- "Our Picks: The Rainbow Times' Political Endorsements 2012". The Rainbow Times. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- "Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney ekes out win over GOP's Richard Tisei". The Republican. November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress". CQ.
- McCutcheon, Chuck, and Lyons, Christina L. (eds.) (2009). "Tierney, John F., D-Mass." CQ's Politics in America 2010: The 111th Congress. Washington: Congressional Quarterly. pp. 496–497. ISBN 978-1-60426-602-3.
- Allen, Jonathan (September 14, 2009). "Tierney a no-go for Kennedy's Massachusetts seat." The Eye. CQ Politics. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- Rushin, J. Taylor (August 19, 2010). "Eyeing Sen. Scott Brown in 2012, Mass. Democrats building up war chests." The Hill. Washington, D.C.. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- "Good, Green Jobs (Green Jobs Act)." Green Jobs. Sierra Club. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- Dave Jamieson (March 6, 2013). "Democrats Protest Committee Vote With Rare Walkout, Decry Lack Of Bipartisanship". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
- Erika Eichelberger (May 24, 2013). "Elizabeth Warren Attacks House GOP on Student Loan Bill". Mother Jones (magazine). Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- "Background." Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- Abramowitz, Michael; Vogel, Steve (March 6, 2007). "Apologies, anger at Walter Reed hearing." The Washington Post. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
- Hendren, John (March 16, 2007). "Congress investigates Walter Reed's 'VIP' ward." ABC News. Retrieved September 8, 2010.
- Liscio, David (June 22, 2007). "House OKs Tierney Pakistan school funds." The Daily Item. Retrieved September 11, 2010.
- DiMascio, Jen (May 5, 2008). "Missile accomplished." Politico. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
- Donnelly, John M. (May 22, 2008). "House defies White House veto threat, passes defense authorization bill." CQ Today. CQ Politics. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Murphy, Shelley; Viser, Matt (October 5, 2010). "Congressman Tierney's wife to plead guilty to tax charges." The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
- Richardson, Franci (June 6, 2000). "Tierney's stepson nabbed on drug charge." The Boston Herald.
- Sweet, Laurel J. (October 6, 2010). "Tierney's wife pleads guilty to tax charges in gambling racket." The Boston Herald. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- "Rep. Tierney's stepson arrested." The Boston Globe: p. B5. June 6, 2000.
- Andersen, Travis (August 6, 2010). "3 more men indicted in gambling business." The Boston Globe: p. B4.
- Ebbert, Stephanie (October 6, 2010). "Congressman Tierney's wife convicted in federal tax fraud case." The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
- Ebbert, Stephanie (January 13, 2011). "Congressman Tierney's wife gets 30 days in jail for tax fraud." The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
- Sweet, Laurel J. (October 7, 2010). "Tierney tax flap 'shakes up' race." The Boston Herald: p. 6. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Laidler, John (October 31, 2010). "Hopefuls racing to finish line." The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Bierman, Noah (November 3, 2010). "Republicans’ revolution fades in Massachusetts." The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
- Manganis, Julie (June 29, 2012). "Brother-in-law: Tierney 'knew everything'". The Salem News. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- Dick, Marcia (June 29, 2012). "Tierneys respond to allegations made by Daniel Eremian". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
- "Tisei concedes Mass. 6th District race to Tierney". Boston.com. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- Congressman John F. Tierney official U.S. House site
- John Tierney for Congress
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Profile at SourceWatch
- Tierney, John Intelligent Reform The Nation, February 6, 2006
|United States House of Representatives|
Peter G. Torkildsen
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th congressional district
January 3, 1997 – present
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority