|Minority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate|
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Brian Lees|
|Succeeded by||Bruce Tarr|
|Member of the Massachusetts Senate
from the Middlesex and Essex district
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||John A. Brennan, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Katherine Clark|
|Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
from the 22nd Middlesex district
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1991
August 13, 1962 |
Somerville, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||American University|
Richard R. Tisei (//; born August 13, 1962) is an American politician and realtor from Massachusetts. A Republican, he served in the Massachusetts state legislature for 26 years, most recently as the minority leader in the Massachusetts Senate. He was the 2010 Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and the 2012 nominee for U.S. Congress from Massachusetts' 6th district, but lost both races.
A graduate of American University, Tisei was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1984. He was the youngest Republican ever elected to the Massachusetts General Court. Tisei served in the House until 1990, when he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate. He was elected Assistant Minority Leader in 1997 and Senate Minority Leader in January 2007. He was not able to run for re-election in 2010 due to his bid for Lieutenant Governor, and his last Senate term ended in January 2011.
- 1 Early life, education, and early career
- 2 Massachusetts House of Representatives (1985-1991)
- 3 Massachusetts Senate (1991-2011)
- 4 Campaigns for higher office
- 5 Political views
- 6 Personal life
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Early life, education, and early career
Richard R. Tisei was born August 13, 1962 in Somerville, Massachusetts. Tisei's grandparents were immigrants from Tivoli, Italy. The son of a builder, he graduated from Lynnfield High School in Lynnfield, Massachusetts in 1981.
Tisei received his B.A. from American University in 1984. A high school visit to the Massachusetts State House gave Tisei "the political bug." In 1982, Tisei was an intern at the White House at the domestic office of Vice President George H. W. Bush. Later, Tisei interned at the office of Massachusetts House Minority Leader William G. Robinson.
Massachusetts House of Representatives (1985-1991)
In 1984, Tisei ran for the open 22nd Middlesex district seat of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Running as a Republican, Tisei defeated Democratic candidate Donald Flanagan, of Wakefield 11,189 to 8,263 and took office the following year. Tisei was the youngest Republican ever elected to the Massachusetts House. He won re-election in 1986 and 1988 with 77% of the vote.
Massachusetts Senate (1991-2011)
In 1990, incumbent Democrat State Senator John A. Brennan decided to retire. Tisei decided to retire his seat in the lower chamber to run for that open senate seat. He defeated Democrat Mike Festa and Independent Paul Maisano 54%-37%-9%. He won re-election unopposed in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2008. In 2000, he defeated Democrat Steve Spain 73%-27%. In 2004, he defeated Katherine Clark 57%-43%. In 2010, he decided to retire in order to run statewide. Clark ran again and won the seat.
As a member of the State Senate, Tisei served for many years as a member of the Joint Committee on Human Services and Elder Affairs. He was named legislator of the Year by the Massachusetts Alliance for the Mentally Ill, The Human Service Providers of Massachusetts and the Home Health Care Association Of Massachusetts. Tisei had a 100% rating from MASS NARAL and Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts. He was also a supporter of same-sex marriage.
Tisei is known best for sponsoring the 1993 Welfare Reform Law and the Whistleblower Protection Law, which was a landmark in the safeguarding workers from retaliation by employers for reporting abuse or unsafe working conditions.
- Bills in the Third Reading
- Elder Affairs
- Election Laws
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse
- Municipalities and Regional Government
- State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
- Steering and Policy
- Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
- Ways and Means
Campaigns for higher office
In 1995, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) encouraged Tisei to run against Democrat U.S. Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts's 7th congressional district. He decided not to challenge him in 1996.
2010 statewide election
On July 28, 2009, Tisei was named the campaign chair for Charlie Baker's 2010 gubernatorial run. On November 23, 2009, Baker named Tisei as his running mate, and thus as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Just prior to the announcement of Tisei as Baker's running mate, Tisei publicly disclosed that he is gay for the first time in an interview with the Boston Globe. Baker and Tisei, unopposed in the Republican primary, were defeated in the general election.
The Patrick/Murray ticket defeated Baker/Tisei 48%-42%. The Republican ticket carried Essex County 48%-43%, while they lost Middlesex Conty 51%-41%. They won Wakefield, where Tisei currently resides, 56%-37%, and Lynnfield, where Tisei grew up, 66%-29%.
2012 congressional election
In November 2011, Tisei announced his plans to challenge eight-term U.S. Congressman John Tierney (D-MA 6th). The newly redrawn Massachusetts's 6th congressional district remained largely the same, but added Billerica, Tewksbury, and Andover. This was a swing district where Scott Brown got 58% of the vote in January 2010 and where Baker/Tisei got 50% in the November 2010 gubernatorial election. Tierney barely came out on top over Tisei, by 3,500 votes out of 374,244 cast. The race was the closest in New England. Tisei would have been the first openly gay Republican in the U.S. House who was out at the time of his election (Steve Gunderson and Jim Kolbe both came out while they were in office), a fact that caused the race to gain significant national attention. Tisei's loss in the election, which took place during the final term in the House for the openly gay Barney Frank (D-MA 4th), also resulted in the first time in 30 years that there were no openly gay members of Massachusetts' delegation to the House of Representatives. (Gerry Studds [D-MA 10th] came out in 1983 during a sex scandal, the first Congressman in the country to do so.)
Tisei has stated about his political ideology: "I have a pretty independent voting record. I try not to be an ideologue. I look at every issue that comes up individually..." The Martha's Vineyard Times reported that Tisei "sees himself as a traditional Republican, believing in individualism, limited government involvement in people's personal lives, and an emphasis on the role of the individual" and as "a libertarian on social issues."
Tisei and his partner Bernie Starr own a home at the Katama neighborhood of Edgartown, Massachusetts at Martha's Vineyard. They live in Wakefield, Massachusetts most of the year. Since 1992, Tisei has been a real estate broker with Northrup Associate Realtors. In 2000, Tisei became co-owner of Northrup with Starr.
- "Richard Tisei". VoteSmart.org. League of Women Voters. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- Wolfson, C.K. (September 8, 2010). "Katama resident Richard Tisei: a quiet political presence — until now". The Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- "About Richard". TiseiForCongress.com. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- Levenson, Michael (November 24, 2009). "Baker names Tisei as running mate". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on November 24, 2009.
- Woodruff, Betsy (September 5, 2012). "A ‘Live-and-Let-Live’ Republican". National Review. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- Dabilis, Andrew J. (February 28, 1986). "A time of challenge against Republicans." The Boston Globe: p. B15.
- "State Representative." The Boston Globe: p. B44. November 8, 1984.
- Vennochi, Joan (February 2, 1986). "GOP optimists see silver lining." The Boston Globe: p. A23.
- Mohl, Bruce (May 17, 1990). "Pierce's Alternative Budget Plan Is Called Vague And Hard To Find". Boston Globe.
- McGrory, Brian (November 7, 1990). "Republicans in State Senate gain numbers to sustain veto." The Boston Globe: p. B27.
- Laidler, John (May 7, 2000). "Stage Is Being Set For Legislative Races". Boston Globe.
- "Legislative panel OK's bill to curtail special interests". Boston Globe. June 8, 1994.
- Malone, M.E. (April 25, 1991). "Campaign reform bill gets committee OK". Boston Globe.
- http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=WO&p_theme=wo&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EADEAFBC7A381CD&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty
- http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=WO&p_theme=wo&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EADF5718178EC04&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty
- Mooney, Brian C. (July 30, 1995). "Mass. GOP fears gains are eroding". Boston Globe.
- Phillips, Frank (20 November 2009), "Baker narrows list of running mates", Boston Globe
- "Massachusetts Election Results". The New York Times.
- "County Results - Election Center 2010 - Elections & Politics from CNN.com". CNN.
- "County Results - Election Center 2010 - Elections & Politics from CNN.com". CNN.
- "Our History". Northrup Realtors. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- "Richard Tisei Broker/Owner". Northrup Associate Realtors. Retrieved September 7, 2012.