GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 30, 2012

Tierney vows stepped-up push for fishery

By Richard Gaines Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Asserting that he has been a dutiful steward of and productive congressional partner for Cape Ann’s interests, Congressman John Tierney said Monday he intends -- if re-elected -- to organize a more aggressive advocacy for the fishing industry.

Seeking a ninth term, the Salem Democrat is in the midst of a bitter campaign against Republican Richard Tisei, who has gained the financial support -- worth millions in advertising -- of conservative Republican organizations including “the Young Guns,” a division of the National Republican Campaign Committee.

Founded by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Young Guns has chosen Tisei, a real estate brokerage co-owner, former state senator and the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2010, as one of the 42 investment worthy challengers in congressional races.

Ryan was chosen by Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney to be his running mate.

In an hour-long interview with the Times, Tierney also noted his work with state legislative, MBTA and municipal leaders to bring about the revitalization of the downtown commuter rail area eight years ago, which helped jump start improvements in the center city and along the waterfront.

“Federal money has a ripple effect,” he said.

He also reiterated a core distinction with Tisei and himself, insisting that the election of Tisei would give the Young Guns one more certain vote for the next House budget which he said would effectively be the Ryan budget. As written, Tierney said, the Ryan budget whacks higher education, cutting $166 billion, and elementary and secondary education, with spending reduced by $115 billion.

Tisei has disputed Tierney’s claim that he supports the Ryan budget; instead, Tisei has said he believes the Ryan budget is a “starting point” for discussions. But Tierney Monday scoffed at Tisei’s distinction, saying his election will give the Tea Party one more vote, for House leaders.

“My point is the tea party is running the majority in Congress. After his vote for leaders, Tierney said, “They’ll kick him (Tisei) to the curb like yesterday’s newspaper.”

In the immediate future, Tierney said during an hour long interview at the Times, he said he was “very hopeful” the lame duck Congress which reconvenes Nov. 13, a week after the election, will appropriate significant relief funding for the groundfishery.

Battered by conservation measures to protect weakened stocks and struggling to maintain its historic diversity while operating since 2010 as a commodities market that encourages consolidation, was declared an economic disaster by the federal government on Sept. 13.

But the finding, announced by Sen. John Kerry and Acting Commerce Secretary Robert Blank, offered no certain assistance.

Although the Magnuson-Stevens Act directs the Commerce Department to “make sums available” to relieve the damage and protect the industry, Blank made no mention of forthcoming financial assistance from the Obama administration.

Tierney said he thought Sen. Scott Brown’s bill, the FISH Act -- the Fishing Impact Honesty Act -- was roughly drafted but he said he saw wisdom in the idea of linking economic impacts to fishery regulations. The FISH Act requires NOAA to do socio-impact statements annually on fishery management regimens.

He said he expected the 113th Congress will increase the pressure on NOAA via hearings to deal honorably with the fishing industry.

He said he believes the administration had refused to release the second so-called Swartwood report due to a desire to avoid the unpleasantries about NOAA law enforcement that it contains. Special master Charles B. Swartwood III about seven months ago completed and submitted to the secretary of commerce his second volume, 66 case studies covering more than 500 pages, of investigation into allegations of law enforcement abuse of the fishing industry.

The first Swartwood report covering more than 50 cases led to apologies to 11 businesses or fishermen wronged by federal law enforcers and more than $650,000 in reparations.

Richard Gaines can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3464, or at rgaines@gloucestertimes.com.