A veteran Marine infantry officer bagged one of the biggest upsets in the election season this fall when he picked-off a 17-year incumbent in the Massachusetts Democratic primary for the 6th congressional district.
Former Capt. Seth Moulton, 35, not only defeated Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., who served nine terms in Congress, but he became the first Democrat in more than two decades to unseat an incumbent in his own party.
A Harvard grad, Moulton joined the Marines in 2001 and became an infantry platoon commander with 4th Battalion, 1st Marines. He deployed to Iraq four times and was a special assistant to now-retired Gen. David Petraeus during the surge. He said he hadn’t considered becoming a politician until a junior Marine said he should run for office.
“When I was in Iraq, after a tough day in the shop, a corporal in my platoon said to me that I should run for Congress so this mess doesn’t happen again,” Moulton said. “If no one stands up and runs, then our politics won’t get any better.”
Massachusetts is one of the most reliable Democratic voter blocks in the country, and Moulton’s district is no exception. Here’s what he plans to do if elected:
Q. The president recently detailed his strategy for fighting the Islamic State group. How do you think the militant group in Iraq should be addressed?
A. I think that we need to defeat IS, but ultimately the Iraqi army has to do the work. If we fight this war for the Iraqis, we are just going to be back there doing it again.
The Iraqi army outnumbers IS around 70-to-1. The issue is that when IS went into Iraq from Syria, the Iraqis left their weapons at home because they had no faith in the central government. The first step is to create an inclusive government.
Q. You were personally opposed to the war in Iraq, but served there as a Marine. How did you resolve your personal feelings with national defense decisions?
A. Like all Marines, I did what my country asked me to do. I was also proud to go so that no one had to go in my place. That doesn’t make me special, it just makes me a Marine.
Q. As a veteran, what skills would you bring to Congress?
A. One thing is the ability to work across the aisle. I didn’t have a platoon of all Democrats. We had different backgrounds, different beliefs and different politics. But we were able to set aside those beliefs to do what was best for America. I think that’s what Americans expect for Congress as well.