On Tuesday, Independent and Democratic voters in Massachusetts’s Sixth District chose Seth Moulton ’97 as their party’s Congressional Candidate.
Moulton unseated incumbent Democratic Congressman John Tierney and will face Republican Richard Tisei in the general election on November 4. Massachusetts’s Sixth District contains most of Essex County and parts of Andover, including Phillips Academy.
Moulton took the primary by 8 percent of the vote over Tierney, marking the first time in 22 years that a Massachusetts Democrat has taken a seat from a congressman of his own party, according to the Boston Globe.
After graduating from Andover, Moulton majored in Physics at Harvard University, but showed an early passion for public service when he entered Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a Marine following his graduation.
Moulton served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Platoon Commander, saw combat in the Battle of Najaf and worked to establish an independent Iraqi media. At the request of General Petraeus, Moulton served two additional tours as a liaison to senior Iraqi leaders and Iraqi security forces.
“I saw terrible things that I will never forget. I also saw incredible joys that I will always remember. I don’t think life is ever the same after you’ve been shot at,” said Moulton on his service in Iraq at a 2009 Memorial Day All-School Meeting at Andover.
Although Moulton served in the Iraq War, he was firmly against it. “I didn’t support the war in Iraq, but it was my duty to serve and I would not have wanted someone else to have to go in my place. Congress didn’t know what they were doing when they sent us to war in Iraq, and didn’t have our backs when we were there,” wrote Moulton in his Democracy for America endorsement application.
Following his service in Iraq, Moulton completed a dual degree program at the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School.
While Moulton then dabbled in transportation and healthcare, he ultimately returned to public service. Not only was Moulton unhappy with Congress’s actions during the Iraq War, he was also disappointed with the record of his hometown district’s Congressman, Democrat John Tierney, calling him a “do-nothing congressman who hasn’t passed one bill in 18 years” while speaking by the campus of Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in May.
In July 2013, Moulton announced his candidacy for Congress, emphasizing his military background and ability to “get things done.” “Congress has been making excuses. I am not here to make excuses, I am here to get things done; and if I am sent to Congress and I don’t get things done, then you should replace me,” said Moulton in an article in “The Daily News of Newburyport.”
Moulton found wide support for his campaign from the Andover community. Andover Alumni Trustees Tom Israel ’62, Tom Beaton ’73, Christopher Auguste ’76 and Tammy Murphy ’83 have all made contributions to Moulton’s campaign. Several Andover faculty members have made contributions as well. Overall, Moulton has had a successful fundraising campaign, raking in over $1.8 million in his Congressional bid so far.
Moulton’s Andover support has come not only in financial contributions but also in the trust of staff members, volunteers and interns. Jeff Phaneuf, a Marine Platoon Commander and Moulton’s Campaign Manager, is a former History Teaching Fellow who taught at Andover from 2010-2011.
“I met Seth when I was a Senior in college. I was considering going into teaching, but I also considered going into the Marines. I got to know Seth through my Phillips Academy and Marine connection, and I have come to support Seth because we need a Marine in Congress who will put country above partisan politics,” said Phaneuf.
Haley Scott ’11, formerly a Field Intern for Moulton and now a Field Coordinator, is in charge of “voter outreach, organizing volunteers and creating grassroots support for [Moulton’s] campaign” in ten towns in Massachusetts’s Sixth District, including Andover.
Scott supports Moulton “because he embodies the ethic of ‘Non Sibi’ that Andover attempts to instill in all of its students,” she said.
“He is a model of selflessness. He joined the Marines out of Harvard because he was passionate about service and he is running for Congress because of that same passion,” she said.
Michael Adams ’15, Billy Casagrande ’15, Taylor Chin ’14, Madi Katz ’17 and Jay Tucker ’14 served as Field Interns for Moulton, and Kailash Sundaram ’15 served as a Finance intern.
Katz said, “I support Seth Moulton because I think he brings the kind of leadership that is necessary to help change Congress’s stagnant state. This summer I called hundreds of people in the Sixth District to tell them about [Moulton], and I went door-to-door doing the same.”
The money has translated directly into a large media buy and direct mailing outreach. Following the release of three advertisements, endorsements from seven major regional and local newspapers, including “The Boston Globe,” “The Boston Herald” and “The Salem News,” and a strong debate showing on August 14, Moulton is preparing to contend with Tisei come November.
“I believe we’ve run an incredible campaign and have proven that newcomers still have a place in our political system. I can’t say which way it will go on Election Day, but I feel very good about our chances and confident that we’ve made a real difference,” said Scott.
If Moulton wins the Congressional race, he will be the only current Andover graduate in Congress. A four-year Andover student from Marblehead, Mass., Moulton participated in Andover Crew and was a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.