John Tierney

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John Tierney

John F. Tierney was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 6th district of Massachusetts.


Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Congressman Tierney attended Salem Public Schools and graduated from Salem State College. He earned a law degree from Suffolk University and until he took office in January 1997 was partner in the law firm of Tierney, Kalis and Lucas for over 20 years. He and his wife, Patrice, continue to make Salem their home.[1]


Having been recently re-elected to his eighth term representing Massachusetts’s Sixth District, U.S. Representative John F. Tierney has developed a national reputation as an effective legislator fighting for middle-class workers and families. The Congressman continues to be the only member from Massachusetts to serve on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, serving on the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions in the 111th Congress.

His "hard work and commitment" to ensuring the legislative branch conducts vigorous oversight have earned Congressman Tierney the Chairmanship of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2007 through 2010 and a Speaker-appointed seat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Chairman Tierney undertook a variety of investigations to ensure that our national security policy prioritizes a robust military and intelligence capability focused on 21st century threats, meaningful diplomatic initiatives, serious attention to nuclear non-proliferation efforts and a defense budget that efficiently uses tax-payer dollars.[2]

Long term political consequences of the Hughes campaign

Opposing Ted Kennedy in the 1962 Massachusetts Democratic Primary was Edward McCormack, nephew of House Speaker John McCormack; Kennedy's Republican opponent was Yankee scion George Cabot Lodge; and on the left was Independent peace candidate Harvard Prof. H. Stuart Hughes, chair of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.

Jerome Grossman was Hughes' Campaign Manager and Chester Hartman was the organizer of the massive signature drive required to place Hughes on the ballot. According to Grossman;[3]

Hughes needed 72,000 signatures, a purposely prohibitive number in that era of McCarthyism and nobody in fact had tried to reach it since the law had first been passed.
In this talented field, Hughes polled 50,013 votes, 2.3% of the votes cast. However, we collected a startling 149,000 signatures in ten weeks for a "peace candidate." The Cuban Missile Crisis arrived in October just before the election. With the integrity that was his hallmark, Hughes went against the popular hysteria: he accused President Kennedy of acting over hastily in imposing the blockade of Cuba, of bypassing the United Nations, and unnecessarily stirring up an atmosphere of national emergency. His position cost Hughes thousands of votes.
In the process we built a town-by-town organization all over the state, a structure that remains in place today. A clear result has been the election over recent decades of so many progressive voices to the state's first-rate Congressional delegation, including Michael Harrington, Father Robert Drinan, Gerry Studds, Jim McGovern, Barney Frank, Ed Markey, John Tierney, Michael Capuano and John Kerry.

DSA support in 1996

Democratic Left, Nov. 1996, page 11

In 1996 Democratic Socialists of America sent six staff members into the field for the final weeks of the campaign. These staff and DSA volunteers "contributed to the re-election of Senator Paul Wellstone, Congressperson Maurice Hinchey (D-upstate NY) and aided in the narrow victory of pro-labor John Tierney (D-MA) over "moderate" Republican Pete Torkildsen in Massachusetts.

According to DSA member Barb Ferrill;[4]

In Massachusetts' 6th district DSA was an integral part of a campaign that made the critical difference in unseating Republican incumbent Peter Torkildsen and electing John Tierney, a progressive Democrat. We did it through a non-partisan getout- the-vote campaign that targeted people acutely affected by economic insecurity.
One week before the election 1 joined the staff of Lynn Voter Power, an effort coordinated by Neighbor to Neighbor, Project '96 of the AFL-CIO, Boston Voter Power and other community organizations. Instead of the usual "win-this-election-now" campaign which is run with no real concern for the community, this project was started a year ago with the mission of building a long-term grassroots coalition to increase voter participation-and clout-in the most disaffected neighborhoods of Lynn. The campaign integrated the traditional elements of an intensive GOTV: voter registration, literature drops, door-knocking, phonebanking, and providing rides to the polls, with a concerted effort to bring together community leaders, organizations, and unions.

When I arrives they put me to work coordinating nearly 100 volunteers who had signed up to work on election day. Because funding for stipends was provided by one of the unions, a very diverse range of people were able to volunteer, people who otherwise might not have participated...
Tierney's margin of victory was smaller than the number of "infrequent voters" we brought to the polls, and who voted for him. Overall turnout in our precincts was significantly higher than the national average, and most of these people would probably not have voted without our work.

DSA member Harris Gruman ran Tierney's field operations in 1996.[5]

DSA endorsement

This announcement appeared in the September/October 1996 issue of Democratic Socialists of America's newsletter Democratic Left.[6]

In the last issue of Democratic Left, we reported that Carlos Romero-Barcelo (Puerto Rico at-large), a member of the Progressive Caucus, was endorsed by DSA PAC. We realize that this endorsement was a mistake and have withdrawn it".
In addition, DSA PAC voted to endorse candidate John Tierney, who is running in the 6 th district of MA against Republican incumbent Peter Torkildsen; and to endorse candidate Shirley Baca, running in the 2nd district of NM against Republican incumbent Joe Skeen..

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Tierney was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[7]

As of February 20, 2009, Tierney was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[8]

Clinton/Pinochet letter

On October 21, 1998, many Members of Congress wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, urging him to release information to a Spanish judge investigating former Chilean President Pinochet for alleged crimes committed during and after the overthrow of the Marxist Allende government.

Dear Mr. President:
The October 17 arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London is a good example of how the goals you outlined in your anti-terrorism speech at the United Nations can be put into practice. Indeed, when the rule oflaw is applied to combat international lawlessness,humanity's agenda gains...we call upon you to ensure that the U.S. government provides Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon material related to Pinochet's role in international terrorism -- material and testimony that the U.S. government has thus far withheld.

Signatories included Rep. John Tierney.[9]

Clinton/Chile letter

February 24, 2000, 31 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have sent a letter to President Clinton requesting full U.S. cooperation with the Spanish case against former Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, a thorough investigation into the car-bomb assassination of Orlando Letelier and American citizen Ronni Moffitt, and the release of all U.S. documents pertaining to human rights abuses in Chile.

Dear President Clinton,
We would like to take this opportunity to commend your Administration's recent activity concerning the ongoing investigation into former Chilean General Augusto Pinochet's role in the 1976 car bombing of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C. We also appreciate your efforts to release documents pertaining to human rights abuses in Chile.

Signatories were George Miller (D-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sam Gejdenson (D-CT), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), John Conyers (D-MI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Lane Evans (D-IL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Tim Roemer (D- IN), Howard Berman (D-CA), John Olver (D-MA), Mel Watt (D- NC), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Patsy Mink (D-HI), Marcy Kaptur (D- OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Tierney (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Martin Sabo (D-MN), and Bob Filner (D-CA).[10]

Colombia Support Network letter


In 2002, the Colombia Support Network organized a :dear colleague" letter to President Andres Pastrana Arango, of Colombia, through Ned Steiner, a staffer in Rep. Sam Farr's office.

The letter called on President Pastrana to end a military blockade on the Colombian town of San Jose de Apartado, a sister community of Madison Wisconsin, where the Colombia Support Network is based.

We write to you to bring your attention to the humanitarian crisis facing the civilian population of the Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its outlying settlements.
We urge the appropriate authorities of your government to dismantle the paramilitary checkpoint on the road between San Jose and Apartadó, ensure the continued safety of the road, and fully investigate recent threats and attacks on the Peace Community.
The Peace Community San Jose de Apartadó and its settlements, including the village of La Union, receive the permanent accompaniment of international organizations.

These include Peace Brigades International (PBI), as well as the U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), which currently has two US citizens in La Union. We support the work of these two respected organizations as well as the Peace Community in its effort to build a non-violent alternative to the conflict.

Representatives who signed the Colombia Support Network inspired letter in 2001 included John Tierney. [11]

2006 letter to Condoleezza Rice on Colombia

Alleged Colombian Army killings prompted Fellowship of Reconciliation to work with Representative Sam Farr to forge a response that would impact the 17th Brigade, the unit allegedly responsible for the violence against San José de Apartadó and communities throughout northwestern Colombia.

As a result, Reps. Sam Farr and Jim McGovern, wrote a letter to their colleagues in Congress urging them to join in calling on Secretary Condoleezza Rice to cut funding for the Colombian military.

Letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
(Deadline for Congressional representatives to sign: February 22)
We applaud the decision, noted in your certification letter of August 2005, that the US "will not consider providing assistance to the 17th Brigade until all significant human rights allegations involving the unit have been credibly addressed." Because the Brigade is a component of the Colombian Armed Forces' command structure and has been implicated in the above referenced human rights violations, we implore you to abide by both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law by withholding human rights certification for Colombia until the following conditions are met:

Signatories included John Tierney.[12]

2009 letter on Colombia

From November 6th through December 7th 2009, a letter calling for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia was circulated through the House of Representatives. This letter called for a decrease in U.S. aid for Colombia's military and an increase in support for human rights and humanitarian efforts. The initiators of this letter were —Representatives James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Donald Payne, and Mike Honda.

Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
The FY 2011 budget will contain the twelfth year of a major aid package to Colombia—an aid package originally slated to phase out after six years.
After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia's military and more systematically "Colombianize" such programs, within both the State Department and Defense Department budgets.

Signatories included John Tierney.[13]

Supported by Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to "reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security", primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported John Tierney in his successful House of Representatives run as candidate for Massachusetts.[14]

2012 CLW House victories

2012 Council for a Livable World House Victories were;

Ron Barber (D-AZ), Ami Bera (D-CA), Tim Bishop (D-NY) Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Lois Capps (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), John Garamendi (D-CA), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Denny Heck (D-WA), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Brad Schneider(D-IL), Carol Shea-Porter(D–NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ),Mark Takano(D-CA) and John Tierney(D-MA)..[15]

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[16]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

Boston Health care meeting with socialists

According to Boston Democratic Socialists of America member Rand Wilson, On Sept. 1 2005 Congressmen John Tierney and Maurice Hinchey heard testimony in Boston support of a “Medicare for All” solution to the health care crisis.

The growing severity of this crisis brought together over 40 grassroots organizations for an impressive—and unusual—showing of political unity for health care reform based on extending Medicare to everyone.

Reps Barney Frank, Jim McGovern and John Olver and John Tierney were sponsoring legislation in the House—HR 676—that would implement this approach.

The hearing, initiated by Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and cosponsored by numerous health care, labor and community groups including Boston Democratic Socialists of America, was attended by over a hundred people.

“A plan like Medicare for All brings ‘Everybody In’ and leaves ‘Nobody Out’,” said Catherine DeLorey, a member of Massachusetts Public Health Association’s board of directors. “It creates powerful incentives to strengthen public health programs that will eventually make everyone healthier and save society billions of dollars.”

IUE-CWA Local 201 member Carol Cormier said, “It’s clear to me and my union that all employers are trying to resolve the health care crisis on the backs of their employees.

“The system they’ve set up for the new Medicare Rx plan brings in unnecessary middlemen,” said Ann Stewart, a member of Mass Senior Action Council and participant in the Prescription Advantage program.

“Over fifteen years of privatization, deregulation, job reengineering, managed care, hospital closures and cuts in essential services has resulted in an industrial model of health care that I call mangled care, ” said long-time reform advocate Sandy Eaton, a member of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, who works as an RN at Quincy Medical Center.

“When we started organizing the hearing, only one member of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation had signed on. Now we have four out of the ten,” said Paul Cannon, President of Teamsters Local 122 and co-chair of Jobs with Justice’s Health Care Action Committee.

“Skyrocketing costs, deteriorating quality of care, loss of insurance coverage and access to essential services is affecting everyone’s health care, ” said Rep. John Tierney. “Common sense solutions like extending Medicare to cover everyone can save money while improving quality and access to health care for all.”

Former WBZ TV 4 news reporter Sarah-Ann Shaw, a civil rights organizer and human services advocate, moderated the forum.[17]

Reception Honoring Martha Coakley

On Jan. 12, 2010 a reception honoring Martha Coakley was held at the Sonoma Restaurant, 223 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C. Among those present were Senator John Kerry and Representatives, Ed Markey, Richard Neal, William Delahunt, John Tierney, Stephen Lynch, Barney Frank, John Olver, Jim McGovern, Michael Capuano and Niki Tsongas.

Hosts of the reception donated $10,000 and included Nick Allard, Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., the Boston Scientific Political Action Committee, Chuck Brain, Susan Brophy, Mary Beth Cahill, Steve Champlin, Licy Do Canto, Gerald S. J. Cassidy, David Castagnetti, Steve Elmendorf, Candy Ergen, Cahrlie Ergen, Shannon Finley, Larry Harris, Tom Hogan, Carol Kenner, Stephanie Markiewicz, Andy Miller, Heather Podesta, Tony Podesta, Robert Raben, Linda Singer and Bill Titelman.

Co-hosts of the reception donated $5,000 and included Marty Bienenstock, Sheryl Cohen, Chad Dale, Joe Eyer, Jamie Gorelick, Robin Leeds, Fred Liowther, Bernie Nash, Frank Purcell of the CRNA (Nurse Anesthetists) Political Action Committee and Melissa Schulman.

The administration for the reception was organized by Julia Hoffman.[18]

Calling on Israeli Govt. to lift Gaza Travel Ban

On Dec. 22, 2009, thirty-three U.S. Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on her to request that the Israeli Government end the ban on student travel from Gaza to the West Bank. John Tierney was one of the signatories of the letter.[19] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. John Tierney was one of the signatories of the letter. [20] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

ARA endorsement

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed John Tierney in 2012.[21]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Jill Gleim, was assigned as contact for Rep.Tierney.[22]

Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections

On Monday December 16, 2014 Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry – signed by 51 Members of Congress – calling for a public statement of neutrality by the State Department before the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2, 2014.

The letter, , highlighted several “important steps” that the current government has taken to “strengthen its democratic system and expand the right to vote to all citizens,” including those living outside of the country, who will be voting by absentee ballot for the first time in February. Since the election of Mauricio Funes, the first President from the Marxist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, the government has increased the number of polling places four-fold to increase accessibility, especially in rural areas.

“We’re glad to see so many Members of Congress expressing respect for the right of the Salvadoran people to determine their own future. That’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking in much of the US’ policy in Central America, especially with regard to economic policy,” said Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director for the pro-communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), in Washington, DC, which has observed every post-war election in El Salvador, starting in 1994.

Signatories included Rep. John Tierney .[23].

2014 DSA endorsement

The Yankee Radical June 2014 page 7

Boston Democratic Socialists of America endorsed John Tierney in 2014.

John has been one of the more outspoken liberal members of our MA delegation...
Tierney has been a strong supporter of green jobs and abortion choice, while opposing Pentagon waste and Wall Street tax loopholes.

Peace Action lobbying

Six Massachusetts Peace Action leaders visited 9 Congressional offices in Washington June 23-24 to advocate for a nuclear deal with Iran, and for no U.S. miltary action in Iraq. They were John Ratliff, Alina Michelowicz, Shelagh Foreman, Rep. William Keating, Mike Pattberg, Cole Harrison, and Jeff Klein.

Delegations also visited Rep. Katherine Clark’s and Rep. John Tierney’s district offices.[24]

Council for a Livable World


John Tierney is the Executive Director at Council for a Livable World, where his work focuses on national security issues in Congress, nuclear nonproliferation, missile defense, and other areas of peace and security.

Tierney is a former nine-term Massachusetts congressman who served on the House Intelligence Committee and chaired the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee. During his congressional career, Tierney spent considerable time advocating on nuclear non-proliferation and national security issues. As a Member, Tierney was regularly endorsed by the Council for a Livable World for his leadership in arms control and preventing nuclear proliferation.

Tierney’s 18-year career included oversight of the Government Accountability Office’s annual assessment of the Pentagon’s Weapons Selection Programs and reform of overall Pentagon spending. In 2009, Foreign Policy Magazine praised Tierney, noting that he “has a reputation for taking on thorny oversight issues the House Armed Services Committee shied away from.”[25]

NIAC meeting

Nov. 14, 2008: Next Tuesday's meeting will begin at 2:30 PM in room 902 of the U.S. Senate Hart building. It is being sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D, DE), who will also give a keynote address, as will Rep. John Tierney (D, MA). NIAC, which is organizing the event, is attempting to prevent Iranian-American activists from attending this meeting, by requiring prior registration. (RSVP to Hormoz Rashidi.[26]


The following as past and present staff:[27]

External links



  1. Congressional bio, accessed August 11, 2011
  2. Congressional bio, accessed August 11, 2011
  3. Jerome Grossman Ted Kennedy: His First Election Monday, February 16, 2009, The Relentless Liberal blog
  4. [Dem. Left, Nov./Dec. 1996]
  5. Our Communities bio, accessed March 30, 2013
  6. Democratic Left, September/October 1996, page 6]
  7. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
  8. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  9. October 21, 1998, Members Of Congress Call On Clinton To Release Key Information On Gen. Pinochet To Spanish Judge
  12. FOR February 2006 Peace Presence Update
  13. Latin America Working Group, Get Your Representative to Sign a Letter Supporting Human Rights in Colombia
  14. CLW website: Meet Our Candidates
  15. Meet the Candidates, accessed April 10, 2013
  16. Dem. Left, Summer 2002
  17. TYR Nov. 2005
  18. Invitation to Reception Honoring Martha Coakley, Jan. 12, 2010
  19. John Dingell's House website: Letter to Hillary Clinton, Dec. 22, 2009
  20. The Minnesota Independent: Ellison, McCollum and Oberstar urge Obama to lift Gaza blockade, Jan. 26, 2010 (accessed on March 14, 2011)
  21. ARA endorsements 2012
  22. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  23. CISPES press release, Press Statement: 51 Members of Congress Call for US Neutrality in Salvadoran Elections December 16, 2013
  24. Mass Peace Action, Summer 2014 page 3, Iran Peace Lobby Visits D.C
  25. bio, accessed may 4, 2016
  26. [1]
  27. Accessed 12/12/2011