Mass. candidates in the 2022 Congressional races, in their own words

Gun Rights

Click on a name below to read the candidate’s response to WBUR’s questionnaire. Entries were lightly edited to meet style guidelines by The Associated Press, and incorrect claims were addressed in an attached editor’s note. Not every claim could be verified. We note below if the candidate failed to return our questionnaire.

1st District: Dean J. Martilli | Richard E. Neal

2nd District:  James P. McGovern | Jeffrey A. Sossa-Paquette

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3rd District:  Dean A. Tran | Lori Loureiro Trahan

4th District:  Jake Auchincloss

5th District: Caroline Colarusso | Katherine M. Clark

6th District: Bob May | Mark Tashjian | Seth Moulton

7th District: Ayanna S. Pressley | Donnie Dionicio Palmer, Jr.

8th District: Robert G. Burke | Stephen F. Lynch

9th District: Bill Keating | Jesse G. Brown


Dean J. Martilli

1st Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

About Dean J. Martilli: Martilli is the principal of a government affairs and business development consulting group, Martilli and Associates. As a former Democrat he served as chief of staff to Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island. Martilli is a lifelong conservative, now a Republican running for Congress in the 1st District.

What does Martilli consider the key issues in this race? Citizens of the 1st District, energy independence, cost of groceries and services, parents and their children’s rights in school, open southern border, no government medical mandates, support police, strong military, right to life, bring manufacturing jobs back to the district.

What are Martilli’s top priorities for the office? First priority is to represent the people that live in the over 80 cities and towns that make up the 1st Congressional District.

Restoration of U.S. energy independence to lower fuel costs and relieve inflation pressures in the supply chain. This move will bring down the cost of fuel, food, goods and services. We produce the cleanest and cheapest fuel in the world, we need to lead in technology in this area.

Martilli stands firm on parental rights in education. He believes sex education and harmful gender theory have no place in our public classrooms. School boards, teachers unions and special interest groups do not know what is best for our children, parents do.

Close the southern border, which will address the out of control drug overdose deaths, sex and human trafficking. Massachusetts has become a border state, and the 1st District is suffering the consequences with the highest ever drug overdose deaths in 2021 at 62.

Martilli stands for full support for law enforcement at the border and our streets as well as a strong military, “peace through strength.” Martilli will develop legislation to eliminate government medical mandates.

Martilli will demand an investigation into the COVID-19 origin, funding from the U.S. to China, the involvement of Anthony Fauci and why more effective treatments of the virus were rejected in favor of the vaccine.

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Richard E. Neal

1st Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

About Richard E. Neal: I am honored to represent central and western Massachusetts in Congress, where I serve as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, the most prestigious committee in Congress that has jurisdiction over taxes, trade, pensions and Social Security. I have had a long and consistent career of delivering for our communities.

What does Neal consider the key issues in this race? I am focused on the issues affecting western and central Massachusetts and building a brighter future for the next generation across the country. Right now, working families are struggling to get by. Wages haven’t kept pace with inflation and rising costs are squeezing out the middle class. I am focused on bringing down costs, expanding job opportunities and protecting the middle class by bolstering the power of labor unions. Other top issues include lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, protecting Social Security and Medicare from cuts and privatization, and codifying the right to an abortion into law.

What are Neal’s top priorities for the office? Throughout my career, defending and expanding the social safety net has been my top priority. Right now, extremist politicians are attempting to weaken, privatize and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. Ripping away the security and livelihood of millions of retirees is cruel and senseless. I will continue to protect these benefits and find new ways to keep Social Security solvent for generations to come. Other priorities for me include delivering support to Americans who are struggling to get by. That means lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, capping the cost of insulin at $35 per month, protecting the power of labor unions to negotiate good benefits and wages, and expanding access to quality and affordable childcare.

I also know that progress requires a government that truly represents the people. That’s why we need to fix campaign finance laws and why I have supported every single campaign finance reform bill that has come through Congress in my time. I will continue to advocate for measures that would increase transparency in our politics. Finally, I will be focused on restoring the right for all women to make their own health care decisions.

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James P. McGovern

2nd Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

About James P. McGovern: I was born and raised in Worcester. Massachusetts is my home. I first got into public service because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s still true today. It’s why I’m focused on putting people over politics to tackle the biggest problems we face.

What does McGovern consider the key issues in this race? Character — Massachusetts deserves someone in Congress who stands up to bullies, who believes in democracy and who won’t back down fighting for them.

Experience — I have a track record of delivering for the people of this district. I think you don’t have to agree on everything to agree on something, and I work across the aisle to get bipartisan legislation signed into law.

Values — We need someone who represents our values. I’ve voted to lower drug costs, protect abortion, hold Big Oil companies accountable and invest in infrastructure. I’m fighting for families, safer communities and an economy that works for everyone.

What are McGovern’s top priorities for the office? 2nd District voters deserve a fighter in Congress that’s going to build an economy that works for everyone. It’s wrong that billionaire corporations are making record profits while many people are living paycheck to paycheck. My top priorities are cutting costs for working families and creating good-paying jobs right here in Massachusetts.

Trump Republicans have a radical vision for America’s future — one of anger, division and fear. They fight for billionaire corporations and are in the pocket of Big Oil and Big Pharma donors. And they want to strip away basic freedoms from their fellow Americans. Make no mistake: I serve working families. It’s why I don’t take a dollar of corporate political action committee money. Republicans are interested in taking America backwards, I’m interested in moving this country forward.

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Jeffrey A. Sossa-Paquette

2nd Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

Did not provide answers to WBUR’s voter questionnaire.

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Dean A. Tran

3rd Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

About Dean A. Tran: Father. Husband. Two-term Massachusetts state senator as assistant minority whip. Six-term Fitchburg city councilor. Twenty-four years private sector business experience. Brandeis University alumnus.

What does Tran consider the key issues in this race? Inflation. Energy (electric and gas) costs. Economy. Public safety. Health care.

What are Tran’s top priorities for the office? Economy and jobs: Reduce inflation by controlling spending. Encourage small business. Reduce taxes and regulations. Ensure fair trade policies.

Energy and environment: Encourage energy independence. Promote common sense emission standards. Incentivize free-market alternatives.

Public safety: Support first responders, not defund them. Keep dangerous criminals off the street. Control the border, stop the drugs.

Rights and liberty: Protect the citizens’ right to vote. Ensure election integrity. Defend the Bill Of Rights.

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Lori Loureiro Trahan

3rd Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

Did not provide answers to WBUR’s voter questionnaire.

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Jake Auchincloss

4th Congressional District | Democrat | Unopposed

About Jake Auchincloss: Congressman Auchincloss is finishing his first term in Congress, where he has proven willing to go everywhere and talk to everyone to bring people together and deliver results. A former Marine officer, he is part of a new generation of policymakers committed to fresh, independent solutions to lower costs for families.

What does Auchincloss consider the key issues in this race? President Biden and Congress have put the pandemic behind us and a sound economy ahead of us, while defending women’s reproductive rights and our very democracy from GOP attacks. Congressman Auchincloss has fought against these extremist GOP positions on abortion and the Big Lie. He has also denounced the Republican Party’s dangerous subservience to the NRA’s assault weapons agenda. At the same time, the congressman has worked on fresh, independent solutions to lower costs for families, from health care to energy, that can attract bipartisan support.

What are Auchincloss’ top priorities for the office? The congressman is committed, first and foremost, to continuing his work on lowering costs. Housing, health care, and energy are too expensive for Bay Staters, and the solutions will require cooperation between all levels of government and between the public and private sectors. As a former city councilor and senior manager at businesses big and small, the congressman has spent his first term bringing thoughtful people together from government, business and universities to make progress.

The congressman will also continue his strong defense of women’s reproductive rights, common-sense gun laws, America’s investments in clean energy independence and the integrity of our democracy against extremist attacks.

Finally, the congressman has developed a strong voice on foreign policy, from Afghanistan to Ukraine to China, and in his second term will continue to advocate for strong U.S. leadership that promotes democracy over autocracy and upholds the postwar, rules-based order.

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Caroline Colarusso

5th Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

Did not provide answers to WBUR’s voter questionnaire.

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Katherine M. Clark

5th Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

About Katherine M. Clark: I’m proud and honored to represent Massachusetts 5th Congressional District. Throughout my career, I’ve worked for better paying jobs, safer communities, and great schools. When everyone has the opportunity to succeed — especially those who’ve been left out or left behind — our communities and our country are stronger.

What does Clark consider the key issues in this race? MAGA Republicans are a threat to every American’s freedom and economic security. I’m working every day to defeat their extreme agenda by fighting for women’s rights, protecting Social Security and Medicare, defending our democracy and building an economy that lowers costs and invests in a green future. Democracy is on the ballot on Nov. 8 and to ensure its survival, we must defeat the extremism MAGA Republicans are promoting.

What are Clark’s top priorities for the office? If I am re-elected, my top priority will remain making sure every family has a fair shot at a secure future. That means protecting the gains Democrats have made on health care costs, like lowering prices of prescription drugs and capping insulin at $35 a month, from the Republican plans to roll back those savings for seniors. I will continue to help working families have child care that is high quality, accessible, and affordable while paying providers a living wage. I will defeat Republican attempts to gut Social Security and Medicare. I will continue to expand access to health care and mental health care, including the right to make your own reproductive decisions and stopping the criminalization of women and health care providers. A fair shot means creating better paying jobs and ensuring women’s pay equity. And it means making our communities safer — including repairing roads and bridges, making sure our air and water is clean, ensuring access to affordable housing, addressing climate change to lessen the impact of severe weather events, and reducing gun violence. A secure future means secure voting rights, and I will ensure that our voices are heard and honored at the ballot box.

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Bob May

6th Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

Did not provide answers to WBUR’s voter questionnaire.

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Mark Tashjian

6th Congressional District | Libertarian | Challenger

About Mark Tashjian: Mark was born in Oakham and attended public high school before earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Connecticut. In 2014, he started Boston Polo Club to provide an opportunity for the general public to ride horses, learn polo and [take part in] equine therapy. Mark is also an active member of his church.

What does Tashjian consider the key issues in this race? Ending the two-party system.

Controlling inflation and economic policies to support small businesses, the middle class and all Americans.

Resolving the immigration problem: America was built as a refuge for immigrants from around the world, and providing an orderly and efficient way for immigrants to come to America is badly needed to meet our workforce shortages as well as so we can continue to be the bastion of democracy in the world.

Solving the supply chain problems.

What are Tashjian’s top priorities for the office? As a third party candidate I will work on bipartisan solutions to social and economic problems.

Showing Americans they do not need to vote Democrat or Republican in order to have their voices heard in Congress.

Providing a streamlined system for people to come to America for jobs that are badly needed.

Fighting any policies that will have an inflationary effect or hurt the finances of the middle class or small businesses including supporting reducing unnecessary red tape and limiting government waste on partisan initiatives.

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Seth Moulton

6th Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

About Seth Moulton: Seth is a veteran, father and Democrat who represents a new generation of leaders in Congress. Prior to his 2014 election, he served four tours in Iraq as a Marine infantry officer. Despite being openly critical of the war, he was proud to go so that no one had to go in his place.

What does Moulton consider the key issues in this race? Residents in the district are facing many of the same pocketbook challenges as Americans across the nation — inflation, affordable housing, jobs. Democrats are delivering economic relief via the new infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act.

From day one, Seth has brought reason and sanity to our politics, working to stop the madness in Washington like the latest Republican attacks on women’s rights and freedoms over their own bodies, futures and lives. His office has won repeated awards for innovation and transparency in government and delivering for Massachusetts constituents.

What are Moulton’s top priorities for the office? 1) Expanding access to and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health care. Even in today’s partisan environment, Congressman Moulton was able to work with a Republican — a fellow veteran — to get the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Hotline, 988, enacted into law. He’ll build on that success to bolster the hotline service and find other ways to address America’s growing mental health care needs.

2) Addressing climate change. We need bold new infrastructure like high-speed rail so that we can meet our climate goals and create good-paying jobs, and we need to move off fossil fuels and transition to carbon-free energy, including solar, geothermal, next-gen nuclear, including fusion and other renewables.

3) Protecting our democracy. There is little that matters more to our democracy than the core tenets of free and fair elections and the peaceful transition of power. Lying about election results has consequences, and election deniers are a grave threat to our democracy.

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Ayanna S. Pressley

7th Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

About Ayanna S. Pressley: Congresswoman Pressley is a champion for justice and healing. In Congress, she has led on issues that matter deeply to families in our community, and she has centered those most impacted in the fight for student debt cancellation, access to abortion care, equitable public health policies and more.

What does Pressley consider the key issues in this race? Congresswoman Pressley is running for reelection because the work of advancing equity and justice remains as urgent as ever.

In the face of threats to the health of our communities, the preservation of fundamental civil rights and the future of our democracy, we must continue organizing, advocating and legislating for bold policies that meet the moment. Congresswoman Pressley is excited to continue that work in Congress, in deep partnership with advocates, experts and community members in the Massachusetts 7th and across the country.

What are Pressley’s top priorities for the office? As she often says, policy is Congresswoman Pressley’s love language, and she remains focused on community organizing and legislating policies that address entrenched injustice, from transforming our broken criminal legal system and advancing housing justice, to protecting abortion access, ensuring equitable public health practices, creating a more humane immigration system, and reforming discriminatory credit and banking practices that reinforce intergenerational cycles of poverty.

Together, we’ve made important progress — delivering millions of dollars in resources to the communities of the Massachusetts 7th; eliminating student debt for millions of borrowers; pressing for equity and disability justice in response to COVID-19; introducing legislation to achieve more equitable economic, housing and health care policies; to make fare-free public transit a reality; to protect our reproductive rights and freedoms, and more.

But these gains are not guaranteed — in the next Congress and beyond, we must work together to defend the progress we’ve made, and continue to ensure that those closest to the pain remain closest to the power, driving and informing the policymaking.

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Donnie Dionicio Palmer, Jr.

7th Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

Did not provide answers to WBUR’s voter questionnaire.

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Robert G. Burke

8th Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

About Robert G. Burke: Videographer and delivery driver.

What does Burke consider the key issues in this race? Steve Lynch votes 100% of the time with Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. The Biden/Lynch/Pelosi policies are driving households in the 8th District to the poor house.

What are Burke’s top priorities for the office? Retire Pelosi. Cut inflationary spending. Close southern border. Finish the wall. Moratorium on new immigration. Eliminate H1-B visas until we reemploy American tech workers. Repeal funding for 87,000 new armed IRS agents. Outlaw puberty blockers and transgender surgery for anybody under age of 21. Encourage more gun ownership in Massachusetts. Restore Massachusetts classroom focus to reading, writing and arithmetic by eliminating critical race and gender theory in classrooms and restore parental control. Protect women’s sports, outlaw biological men from competing in women’s sports (especially high school and college).

Editor’s note: A 2021 Department of Treasury report said the IRS could hire up to 87,000 new employees, not armed agents, by 2031, according to Reuters. And Massachusetts public schools do not teach critical race theory, which is a legal framework discussed in postgraduate courses, according to the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents

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Stephen F. Lynch

8th Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

Did not provide answers to WBUR’s voter questionnaire.

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Bill Keating

9th Congressional District | Democrat | Incumbent

About Keating: Bill Keating proudly represents Massachusetts’ 9th District. As the chairman of the Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber Subcommittee on the House Foreign Affairs Committee as well as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, he is a Congressional authority on terrorism and global security.

What does Keating consider the key issues in this race? Ensuring that women have the fundamental right to make their own health care decisions. Protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors. Standing up for democracy and protecting it from those working to undermine our elections. Rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.

What are Keating’s top priorities for the office? Supporting legislation that will protect the right of all Americans to make their own decisions about their bodies. Championing legislation like the bipartisan CHIPS Act and the infrastructure bill that will strengthen our communities while creating good, local jobs for our families.

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Jesse G. Brown

9th Congressional District | Republican | Challenger

About Jesse G. Brown: A business leader with a history of service, I decided to run for Congress to bring my experience of job creation and public service to Washington. I believe my success and innovations in job creation coupled with my years of public service will benefit the people of the 9th District.

What does Brown consider the key issues in this race? Hard-working Americans are struggling to keep up with the rising costs of food and energy, with inflation at a 40-year high. We need to rein in exorbitant spending in Washington, and implement a common sense budget that makes the cost of living more affordable.

We also need to secure the border. Our district and state have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Per Mass.gov, opioid overdose deaths increased nearly 9% in 2021. I will work with both state and federal entities to bring resources to the 9th District for opioid recovery, including stopping opioids from getting into our communities at the source.

What are Brown’s top priorities for the office? It will be one of my first orders of business to introduce a bill permitting emergency medical personnel to transport and treat K9 officers in the event of injury on the federal level, like we have for state bodies of law enforcement.

I am also committed to working with all members of Congress to stop reckless spending and work to decrease inflation. I want to support smart tax cuts that will have a big impact on vulnerable members of the community, like decreasing the threshold for capital gains taxes, which would help our elderly community who live on a fixed income. Together we can also reduce the number of bills that have unrelated spending tucked away in them by current members of Congress for political interest groups that increase prices for Bay Staters.

My other priorities include securing funding for much-needed infrastructural improvements, especially for the bridges in our district, minimizing the coastal erosion risks, federally protecting the fishing and lobstering industries and establishing better care for our veterans who deserve much improved health services.

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Freelance journalist Jesse Remedios contributed to this reporting.

With some data and images of the candidates provided by Govpack, an organization that partners with journalists to collect and distribute candidate information.

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