Last week I wrote about the political reasons for Niki Tsongas’ decision to not seek re-election in the 3rd district now let me say a few things about her.

It’s been my experience that people in general like her. My local paper the Sentinel and Enterprise which I quoted yesterday had quite few things to say on the subject. This comment from Fitchburg Mayor Steve DiNatale was typical

“She’s one of the few people in such a powerful position that I’ve known in my years of public service that you can phone up and get a response,” said Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale. “We’re going to miss that.”

I can vouch for this. I interviewed Tsongas for the first time during the Fitchburg 4th of July Parade when Fitchburg was removed from the 1st district and moved to the 3rd when Massachusetts lost yet another seat in congress.

and I covered her regularly. In the four years that she was my rep I covered her campaigns, her debates and events. She was always polite and always took the time to invite me to cover events when she was in the area even though she knew I was opposed to her. This piece from my Examiner.com days puts it well (via the wayback machine):

She also commented on the various scandals, saying we must learn from Benghazi and stating bluntly “IRS must be unquestionably A-political” but when questioned on an independent counsel ducked instead praising the President for being public and active in his efforts to increase transparency.

While one might question her definition of transparency on the part of the White House there is no question of her own. She took more than a dozen questions from different voters, invited others to leave recorded messages. Asked several poll questions to get feedback from all people on the call and not only didn’t exclude people who disagreed her she proactively called them to be invited to the event.

That willingness to engage can’t but help in 2014 which promises to be a tougher election than the last. Agree or disagree on issues one can’t help but note the first job of a Representative is to treat the voters you represent properly.

Don’t get me wrong she was a savvy pol and this was reflected in easy wins in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Perhaps if she was in a less competitive district she might have been tougher on conservative media but even if she always voted against me she was never afraid to hear the opinions of her political opponents nor was she one to demonize us.

Put simply, the only bad words I have to say about Niki Tsongas concern her voting record. She is a lady who respected the people she represented and in an age when Maxine Waters is the face of the Democrat Party and the left is literally gunning for Republicans, that respect is going to be missed.  The Democrat Party is poorer for their loss of her.

Congresswoman Tsongas interviewed by DaTechGuy 1/2013

On the day I promised my wife I would abandon the internet until we got home from Hampton Beach my congresswoman decided to call it quits.

Having imprinted the 3rd Congressional District with the indelible mark of her family’s public service, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas will step away from Congress at the end of her current term to help nurture her family’s next generation.

First elected in 2007 to a congressional seat her husband Paul wielded to great effect, Tsongas has made a name for herself as a fierce advocate for women in the military, veterans benefits, and health care. Her recent bids for re-election have been forgone conclusions, but Tsongas said in a statement announcing her decision that the time has come to move on.

“I am so grateful to those who have been there since day one, and to the many great Americans who I have met along the way, all of whom have served as my inspiration and support,” Tsongas said. “I have learned in life that there is a time for endings and for new beginnings. After much thought, I have decided that this is one of those times.”

Tsongas, who is 71, has three daughters and two grandchildren, with another expected imminently. She said she plans to spend more time “enjoying and celebrating” them after her term expires at the end of 2018.

Now I’m a big fan of spending one’s golden years with the children and grandchildren and in that sense I completely agree with Congresswoman Tsongas’ decision, but I couldn’t help notice how this announcement contrasts with a story in the very same paper just four months ago:

REP. NIKI Tsongas put to rest growing rumors that she’s be retiring from Congress in 2018, when her present two-year term is up.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not going anywhere but to work. I’m happy, healthy, and committed to helping my constituents on issues that are so important to them,” said Tsongas, who represents the 3rd Congressional District.

Asked to explain the persistent rumors, Tsongas said, “I think it is age-driven. I’m 71 and some people might be thinking I’m going to retire. But that’s not something I’m thinking about.”

So the question on the floor is this:  What changed in the 107 days between April 23rd and August 9th that converted the story of  Niki Tsongas retirement from a rumor to be quenched to a reality to be celebrated?

Might I be so bold as to suggest that the congresswoman , who has been covered and interviewed by this blogger, just might have seen this post:

 Sunday, even after the GOP fell on it’s face over Obamacare and the White House was playing musical staff Nancy Pelosi is reportedly saying stuff like this

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday it was “unimportant” for Democrats to win back a majority in the lower chamber in the mid-term elections, The Hill reported.

“That’s so unimportant. What is important is that we have the lively debate on a better deal,” Pelosi told Fox News host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about the chances Democrats had to win back the House in 2018.

What does that tell you?  It tells me that no matter how bad things look for the GOP the American people have decided that the Democrats are worse.

Now perhaps it’s huberis to think that Congresswoman Tsongas first heard about Minority Leader Pelosi’s declaration here but I suggest it would be naive to discount this story from the Congresswoman’s calculations.

Or  to put it another way, in April when Nancy Pelosi was talking Democrats taking congress, and the prospect of a committee chair and the power that comes with it was there, Congresswoman Tsongas was all about working for the people of the 3rd district.  Once it became clear that even an outside chance of  such a prospect meant staying in congress until she was closer to eighty than seventy, enjoying one’s golden years with the grandchildren while one is healthy enough to enjoy them trumped another guaranteed lustrum or two in the congressional minority.

FYI here is the interview with Congresswoman Tsongas that the image at the top came from

Closing thought,  Interesting that the Democrats didn’t ask her to resign early and generate a winnable special election in a deep blue state that they could tout isn’t it?

A quick Layoff bleg update. Yesterday was the scheduled end to my layoff bleg and I’m sorry to say we didn’t manage half of the goal I had set although we did manage to raise enough to get me a paycheck this week and next week. This will make August a very lean month.

So if you are inclined and at all able I would ask you to hit DaTipJar at this time even if we don’t make the goal another $315 will mean a full paycheck for August 25th.




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I haven’t talked much about local or congressional races nor have I gone one of my traditional 3 state district hoping trips because my full time job precludes it, but there is a congressional race in my district that I care about, so I’d like to share with you a letter I sent to the editor of my local paper in support of Ann Wofford who is once again challenging Nikki Tsongas in my district.

There is one aspect of the race for the MA 3 district between incumbent Democrat Nikki Tsongas and Challenger Ann wofford that deserves more consideration by voters in the district in general and Fitchburg in particular.

Under our Constitution all spending bills must come from the House of Representatives, furthermore unlike the US Senate where the objection of a single member can slow down legislation, a member of the House has no such privilege meaning that to have influence on laws, you have to be in the majority.

In 2010 the GOP took the house in the “Big Red Wave”. They retained it during the 2012 election year and are expected to do so again in this election by a comfortable margin. Given GOP strength in midterm elections that means that Republicans will hold the house, and the power of the purse for the rest of this decade.

Wouldn’t it be good for the District in General and Fitchburg in particular, if for those last four years of this decade at least, it had a voice at the majority table when those spending decisions were being made?

As a conservative on issues like Obamacare Ann Wofford is a natural fit for my views.

But I submit and suggest that if you are a moderate or even a liberal who wants to be sure we get a fair shake when block grant and federal funds are allocated to the district in general and to Fitchburg in particular, you’ve got to have a vote that actually counts.

If we elect Ann Wofford to the House of Representatives we will. If we re-elect Nikki Tsongas we will not.

It’s that simple.

In fact there is one further point that for the sake of brevet I didn’t include in my letter to the editor.

If we elect Ann Wofford to congress she will be the only GOP member of the entire Massachusetts delegation. That means the amount of influence she will have will be amplified considerably, consider:

  • As the first GOP member of the House from Massachusetts in many years the GOP leadership would have a particular incentive to give ear to her positions to encourage her re-election.
  • As the only GOP member of congress from the state she would be the goto person for GOP governor Charlie Baker to advance legislative priorities for Massachusetts.
  • As the only member of the Massachusetts member of the majority pols from around the state including congressional democrats, would be coming to her for favors in the hopes of getting at least some hearing with the majority, that can’t help but put MA 3 in general and Fitchburg in particular in a better position vis a vis state spending and project.
  • Finally if we elect her THIS year, when the GOP majority increases during the midterms as it always does, Ann would have seniority over any newly elected members of the GOP majority that year increasing further the district and the city’s influence.

All of these political advantages are ours for the taking if we’re smart enough to elect Ann to congress this time around.

The golden days when Massachusetts congressmen like John McCormick and Tip O’Neill were House Speakers and we had real power in Washington are gone, but I submit and suggest that if you are a city counselor in Fitchburg, Lowell, Lawrence or Haverhill, who is looking to get funding for their needs,  particularly one old enough to remember those good old days, you should think long and hard before you send your people out to vote for Tsongas over Wofford and deny your city the power and influence that comes from the congressional majority.


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Let me introduce you to Ann Wofford she is the GOP candidate running in the Massachusetts 3rd District for congress

Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching her debate incumbent Niki Tsongas in Devens Ma. and if you following my livetweet of the debate you would realize she is something special.

Tsongas is a practiced debater and a well spoken woman but Wofford not only answered questions directly but her plain-spoken opponent was not only more than a match for her but bluntly spoke truths that would make any Conservatives’ heart go pitter patter on comprehensive healthcare

On Obama

and Big government

Those three quotes: The Federal government is not here to save us, Nobody believes this president anymore and “Congress has shown it can’t to comprehensive anything” would all be best sellers at any GOP event nationwide and are sentiments that a majority of the country might support.

And when Niki Tsongas pushed a minimum wage increase as a panacea for women in distress & the middle class in distress Wofford bluntly answered “We live in two different worlds.” that pretty much sums up conservatives vs liberals on real life. I summed up the debate here

And livetweeted throughout the event. I didn’t shoot much video other than the closing statements

but the Lowell Sun site has video available. but that not what struck me about this debate.

as I mentioned when summing up this is the first time I’ve gone to a Tsongas debate and didn’t see a line of Niki Tsongas yard signs lining the road that you take to the debate, in fact if I didn’t know which road to take or have printed directions a person driving through the main road through Devens who have absolutely no idea this event was going on.

I submit and suggest this was deliberate, Tsongas is a good candidate but Wofford is an impressive woman and the last thing you want if you are an incumbent of the Gilligan party in one of the most depressed districts in a state is to highlight an opponent that simply radiates competence.

But that point raises another. It’s one week before election day. Why am I only now discovering this about Ann Wofford?

The district is considered relatively competitive, and Tsongas has several times barely cleared 50 percent against relatively unknown and outspent GOP opponents. There have even been competitive primaries for the chance to face her.

But this time, nobody stepped up—which is why, Wofford tells me, she decided to do it herself. “I just feel that is outrageous,” for the incumbent to go unchallenged, she says. “I do not feel that I am represented by my current congressperson, and I refuse to be told you have no choice.”

In a year when competence is the #1 issue, in an era where the left is constantly pushing the “anti-woman gop” lie don’t you think that a highly competent, poised woman who can go toe to toe with a long-term incumbent might be someone you want to push?  Particularly when you’ve only got three contested congressional seats in the state:

Wofford, a chemical engineer with 17 years in the private sector, was raised in Western Massachusetts and now lives in Haverhill with her husband and two daughters. She emphasizes fiscal responsibility, concerns about the Affordable Care Act (her husband works in New Hampshire, where just one provider participates in the health insurance exchange), and securing the borders against illegal immigrants. Her rhetoric, while not rabid by any means, is a bit too Tea Party-tinged for most of the state, but will resonate with a lot of people in that district.

So will her demands for more transparency in the federal government, and her charge of “dysfunction” in Washington politics. “It’s a separate world, where they help each other,” while the middle class stagnates, she says.

So you’ve got an intelligent, well educated and successful woman running in a competitive district and the party is doing squat to push her?  Excuse me?

If I was the in charge of pushing the GOP in the state neither I nor any of my surrogates would be making a media appearance without mentioning Ann Wofford. If I had a visiting out-of-state party member visiting I’d have Ann on stage to meet them. The moment any person from either the left or the press (but I repeat myself) breathed the words “War on Woman” I’d be throwing Ann Wofford in their faces.

At the very least, Wofford stands as a welcome female face for a Massachusetts Republican Party sorely lacking them. Good luck trying to remember the last Republican woman nominee, let alone winner, for Congress or U.S. Senate in the Bay State.

On the national level I understand the party not putting a lot of resources into Massachusetts because, well it’s Massachusetts one of only 4 states that Obama is not upside down but that doesn’t excuse people at the state level not getting the word out. Other than Mary Lotz, Frank Ardinger and Richard Shufford I haven’t even heard a person mention her name. let alone tweet it.

After all how are you going to get the national party to kick in to turn things around if you don’t even let them see when you have a diamond in the rough?

I admit that this is my first piece on Wofford this cycle & I should have gotten to her sooner but despite what some might think I’m not paid to promote the GOP (although hits to DaTipJar are happily accepted) and there are people in the party who are, hell I’m not even a republican.

Anyway her web site is here. She deserves your support and attention because this is a woman to watch even if you have to figure out to watch her on your own.

Update: Via the Lowell Sun & Fitchburg Sentinel the full debate video

I’d be tweeting this out all over if I was the GOP

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As you may or may not know my friend Tim Imholt is running for congress in the Ma-3 district against Niki Tsongas.

I’ve interviewed Tim many times, covered his campaign and had hi on my show. He’s a scientist, a small business owner a father of three and a PhD. The man is a problem solver and an excellent choice for congress.

And if that isn’t cool enough he is also is a writer of fiction, and his latest book The Forest of Assassins (with David Forsmark) is now out.

It’s a roaring story of a Vietnam era seals operating both at base and in country engaging charlie, dealing with the South Vietnamese and local tribes and at the same time trying to find a traitor in their midst.

My full review on Amazon is here but you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by just buying the paperback or the kindle edition

That way you can support Tim and give yourself the gift of great entertainment.


Today on DaTechGuy on DaRadio I welcome scientist, author & GOP candidate for the MA-3rd district

We’ll talk turkey about Iran and the Bomb and we’ll discuss the “present” situation of both the Upton bill, Obamacare and his campaign. We’ll also talk his new Novel The Forest of Assassins (with Dave Forsmark).

In our 2nd hour we bring in the Magnificent Panel as Tim is joined by Yid with Lid and Maxine Baptiste in the prestigious Bob Beckel chair and get their take on the latest Obamacare delay as well as the Iran Deal.

You can join the conversation at 888-9-fedora.

Listen in live on FTR Radio

or via our Tune-in Stream for the Money Matters Radio Network

And of course there are the terrestrial stations

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You have been treated to topics like Church history from Pastor George Kelly Common Core’s Kobayashi Maru from AP (Lady Liberty) Dillon , a bit of Venezuela from Fausta, Indoctrination vs education from Baldilocks The sanity of homeschooling from Linda Szugyi , What Smoking Taxes actually do to a culture from Marathon Pundit and the Left’s Lawfare in Wisconsin from Steve Eggleston and today you will get one more piece from Steve rounding out the contributions from my Magnificent Seven.

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Got a call from Niki Tsongas for virtual town hall.

She is describing the shutdown, simply put no long term or short term bill passed blaming the house for not clean CR. Saying clear bill would pass, and advancing the idea that it’s all about the House. Talking the Senate clean CR, saying the bill should be passed.

Pushing the history of the passage of Obamacare again the whole, “it’s the law business” It’s a wonder the people fighting integration didn’t use these same arguments.

Now pushing the benefit of Obamacare.

Talking about the number of people who have visited but not the number of people who have actually signed up.

Talking about both sides of the aisle.

Terry from Clinton: If you are confident on Obamacare why isn’t congress signed up for it, why are some allowed to opt out?

Tsongas: Misinformation. Individual mandate everyone must purchase insurance as all Massachusetts people do. We will have to demonstrate coverage. cited husband’s illness as knowledge of this issue.

Noting Sen Grassley forced congress on the exchange notes federal government will continue to provide kick in, says it’s “fair” for them to continue to get subsidies as most people looking for jobs look to see what benefits are offered.

Colleen from Haverhill: Why is congress still getting paid?

Tsongas: Congressional pay is mandated by constitution people have to decide to not take it. Mentions no gov no pay act of 2013. I will not be accepting pay & will return it.

Steven from Fitchburg: Anything we can do to force the vote?

Tsongas: continue to push 88% in poll said that they wanted the vote. gave link to survey

Brian from Gardner: What are we going to do if nothing happens by the 17th.

Tsongas: The votes are there if it takes place, Debt should be looked at but ceiling shouldn’t be held hostage. Talking about sequestration, not a fan but has cut spending. Stock Market starting to show trembles. We have to stay at it. Should look at medical device tax later. Must honor spending in place.

Roger from Lowell: Budgets were passed this year, no conference committee, talk about that.

Tsongas: Talks regular order Says Ryan budget too many cuts but it passed & senate passed budget 1st time in years. Normal process is conference committee. Describes how a conference normally works. Says House GOP will not go to conference. Need long term solution & end sequester. We need targeted spending cuts & new taxes (revenues is how she put it)

Charlene from Marlborough: Disillusioned with Democrats. I pay for my healthcare I don’t have wavers, why should some get wavers & not me. Not seeing fairness. Disgusted with the WW 2 vets memorial asked for help on that.

Tsongas: Sorry we lost you, thanks for hearing us through. Unfortunate that shutdown effected vets. I do know an effort was made to allow them in. Father survived Pearl Harbor attack. Glad they are able to find a way forward (doesn’t mention Barrycades®) On insurance more expensive to have people uninsured due to bankruptcy and cover those who can’t. Reforms help benefit everyone, talks pre-existing condition coverage.

Glenn from Gardner: When will president Obama stop capitulating to GOP? Entirely Republican Bill

Tsongas: You’re right, based on Romneycare, says it’s a Heritage bill. Debate on public option just wasn’t the votes at the time.

Jane from Haverhill: Are federal employees being paid

Tsongas: 800k employees are not, but last week house voted on Employee retroactive pay act, passed strongly bi-partisian. Some comfort that will come.

John from Haverhill: asked about signatures already gotten. Is there a legal reason.

Tsongas: Speaker has absolute control but there is a discharge petition, takes a month, needs majority. Democrats will sign it, don’t know if house GOP will sign. Majority has control it’s how house works. He holds the cards unless the American People produce outside pressure. Hope it happens.

John from Clinton: Want them to take a vote, in favor of Obamacare it’s already law.

Tsongas: Letter to editor, happy with Obamacare because of college kids still on plan. Saved over $4k because they could after car accident.

Annie from Fitchburg: Why does the president not just go pass the debt ceiling on his own? Loves affordable car act.

Tsongas: Saw an article about WalMart making more employees full time as an attraction to better workers. Says more businesses in MA offered health insurance.

Jim from Lowell: Disagree, as independent, I don’t want straight line vote, only opportunity to force a meeting. I see socialized medicine and those people come here.

Tsongas: I think linking the two (government shutdown & obamacare) is a bad idea. Says president did negotiate in sequester, hoped for long term solution. This will harm our economy.

Michael from Gardner: (question was answered so comments on companies at one time taking care of employees and not happening anymore. Inundated with the uninsured. Upset with Speaker of House

Tsongas: Just starting to recover credits end of high income Bush Tax Cuts for more revenue. Call ill afford shockwaves. No insurance is hardship on hospital. More insured more reimbursement.

________________________

Out of time didn’t get to ask my question left it as voice mail

1. Question the point of compromise is to find things you can agree on. The House has passed several funding bills with bi-partisan votes to fund NIH, monuments & vets, will you urge Harry Reid to bring these bi-partisian bills up for a vote?

After leaving Manchester yesterday I headed south on Interstates 293, 93, 495 for Lawrence Ma to cover Tim Imholt (who once blogged as DaScienceGuy and currently contributes on PJ media) as he launched his Race for the third district in MA

Manchester and Imholt 016

I got there as an inventor friend of Tim’s was introducing him

he then took the stage just as I was changing my Batteries

and took questions on Niki tsongas his opponent

On attracting voter in cities like Lawrence

and took a question about the base of the party

Tim has a doctorate in Physics (his wife in an engineer so they have that Bang Theory Doctor not a Doctor thing going) As a scientist he thinks like a problem solver and more importantly he not only has a life but will have a life when his time in congress is done which we need a lot more of.

Let me close with this interview with Richard Tisei who was there to Support Tim

Now Tisei is a bit a social liberal and you don’t get much more socially conservative than me. If both of us like Tim Imholt (I met him on the airplane 3 years ago and have stayed in touch since then) odds are you’ve got someone who can unite the GOP in MA-3. You can find out a lot more about him here

the question is can he draw enough support in a district that was strong for Brown to overcome a strong incumbent like Tsongas? Time will tell.

Incidentally Tim was my guest when I guest Hosted conservatively speaking last week. You can hear that show here.

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Niki Tsongas has a piece published in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune that take a short at some of the effects of the Sequester:

Several months ago the manager of the Lawrence Municipal Airport notified my office that as a result of sequestration, automatic government spending cuts that went into effect in February, 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) planned to close the air traffic control tower, costing jobs, economic growth and impacting safety at an airport that has seen an increase in flight traffic in recent years.

Airports across the country also faced furloughs for their air traffic controllers, which not only forced pay reductions to workers but also created severe logjams and delays for travelers. No doubt countless people experienced the logjam and received similar messages as I did from their chosen airline warning about delays due to sequestration.

She gives it a roundhouse right:

Enacted as motivation for Congress to find a comprehensive solution to America’s economic woes, these automatic cuts, commonly referred to as sequestration, were never meant to take place. The cuts are split evenly between defense and other government programs, blindly slashing the top off of federal agency budgets. Resources many citizens utilize on a daily basis are at risk, including educational opportunities, senior citizen meal assistance programs and public safety initiatives.

My friend and sometime guest Tim Imholt a likely 2014 opponent sent me a copy of a letter he sent to the paper in response saying in part:

While I agree with her statement that a “piecemeal approach” or to be blunt, these draconian methods of avoiding real governing are simply unacceptable I have a problem with her actions.

The good Congresswoman somehow failed to mention one crucial fact – that she voted in favor of the sequestration cuts.

For something before being against it, I know I’ve heard that from someone from Massachusetts before…

So, perhaps next time, the good Congresswoman should fill in the voting public on her voting record before she demonizes the legislation she obviously, once upon a time, supported.

I don’t know, she spent a lot of time in 2012 attacking the medical device tax she helped pass so I don’t see why that would change now.

Just a reminder Massachusetts, we do this to ourselves.

…but as I mention in my Examiner piece she is earning my respect for this reason:

While one might question her definition of transparency on the part of the White House there is no question of her own. She took more than a dozen questions from different voters, invited others to leave recorded messages. Asked several poll questions to get feedback from all people on the call and not only didn’t exclude people who disagreed her she proactively called them to be invited to the event.

That willingness to engage can’t but help in 2014 which promises to be a tougher election than the last. Agree or disagree on issues one can’t help but note the first job of a Representative is to treat the voters you represent properly.

No rep can vote the way all their constituents want but they can give everyone a fair hearing for their views.