This isn’t Richard Tisei’s first run for high office.  In 2010 he ran for lieutenant governor on Charlie Baker’s ticket, but lost to Deval Patrick and Tim Murray.  This time, Tisei’s challenge is to convince voters in the predominantly “blue” 6th District that he is a moderate who will bring common sense to Washington. 

"The problem in Washington right now is that we don’t have enough independent-minded people who are willing to look at an issue and judge it on its merits instead of voting straight party lines,” Tisei said.

For proof of being a pragmatic problem-solver, Tisei points to his 26 years as a state legislator.   “I have no problem crossing the aisle,” Tisei said. “When Governor Romney was the governor, I voted with him 54 percent of the time, I voted against him 46 percent of the time. It’s funny I’m being painted by my opponent as some kind of extremist.” 

This was evident in their fourth debate, as John Tierney scoffed at the idea of Tisei being anything but a lackey for the Republicans. Tisei denied this charge.

"Republicans are going to be in control of the house and I’ll be able to do a lot being the only member of the majority in this state,” Tisei said. 

It’s hard to tell what affect Tisei could have on Congress. In many ways he tows the Republican line: he wants to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and repeal Obamacare.  But, he’s also pro-choice and openly gay.   

“I support marriage equality and I’ll be a leader on that issue in the Congress,” Tisei stated.

Tisei believes views on homosexuality are evolving and he hopes to be a catalyst for their evolution.   

“What makes America so great?  And that’s the fact that we do accept everyone and we are a tolerant nation and we do treat everyone fairly,” said Tisei. 

Tisei says his philosophy is that government should get off your back, out of your wallet and away from the bedroom.  He owns a small business — a real estate agency in Lynnfield — and says he’s a fiscal conservative, but he also cares a lot about social issues, and supports federally subsidized programs like fuel assistance.

“There are a lot of people who that program means the difference between life and death, as a member of the majority and one of the few republicans from new England, I think I can go in and make a pretty solid case that this program is under consideration, I just want you to know how important this is to my constituents," Tisei said.

As Congress grapples with finding a solution to the nation’s debt and huge deficit, it may be hard for any member of congress — Republican or Democrat — to be successful in this highly polarized political climate. Tisei, whose sister lives in a group home for the disabled, said he’s up for the challenge. 

“Having a sister who’s disabled has really shaped me,” Tisei said.  “It makes you realize that there a lot of people in this world who need help and assistance and are deserving of it and that as a society making sure that everyone is taken care of and has the resources that they need to be able to live is something that really forms who I am and what I want to accomplish.” 

The real challenge for Tisei, if he is elected, will be to live up to his ambitions.