BEVERLY — Daniel Fishman wants to debunk a myth about Libertarians.
“We don’t believe in ‘no government,’ we believe in smaller government,” he said.
With no political experience but a strong belief in strengthening people’s civil liberties, Fishman, a 44-year-old Beverly Libertarian, is diving into the race for 6th Congressional District, going up against Democratic Congressman John Tierney of Salem and Republican challenger Richard Tisei.
Fishman has been gathering signatures since June, and says he’s closing in on the 2,000 he needs to get on the November ballot. Cape Ann commuters might have seen him out at the Beverly or Salem train depots early in the morning; he said he’s also getting help from Georgetown attorney Steven Epstein, who’s spearheading his signature drive.
Fishman said he is running because he believes the federal government has become too powerful.
“Whenever government acquires power, they are taking it from the people,” he said.
He points to federal health care as a “symptom” of “the majority imposing its will on the minority.” He believes the Massachusetts model, on the other hand, was right minded, and that if other states want to follow suit, that’s up to them.
Fishman says he was a Republican until 20 years ago. While he remains fiscally conservative, his views on social issues alienated him from that party, and he turned to Libertarianism.
He describes himself as “very pro-choice.” He believes people should have the right to own guns.
He offers this solution to the issue of same-sex marriage: Any couple who want to file taxes jointly must get a legally recognized civil union; then the couple may have their union recognized in whatever religious ceremony they choose.
The religious union would not be legally binding — in fact, the government would have nothing to do with it.
“If a church wants to discriminate ... that’s what the Constitution is supposed to allow in terms of freedom of religion,” he said.
Also on his agenda, he believes the Massachusetts delegation can do a better job on the rights of fishermen to work without excessive regulation on the part of the federal government.
“The idea that Massachusetts fishermen want to fish the ocean dry is ludicrous,” he said.
If elected, Fishman said, he said he would scrutinize every piece of legislation, asking, “Is this something that we really need a law for?”
While acknowledging that he will never be as well-funded as his opponents, Fishman said he is a viable candidate because people are fed up the “crazy” decisions made by the government.
“I think there is a greater sense of political awareness right now than there has been in this country in a very long time,” he said.
Fishman has not done any fundraising, but plans to do so if he makes it onto the ballot. He said he has spent $2,000 of his own money so far on gathering signatures and will have spent $5,000 by the time he’s done with that. He said he has 1,200 signatures so far, 800 of them certified.
He has lived in Beverly with his wife, Eleanor, since 2003, and works as a senior software architect at eSped, where he specializes in collecting and analyzing special education data. Prior to becoming a software engineer, Fishman worked in the classroom as an assistant special education teacher. Fishman and his wife are members of the Trustees of Reservations.
He grew up all over the country, but mostly in Texas, he said, and spent summers in Massachusetts because his dad was a scientist who worked in Woods Hole. He has family from Salem, Lynn, Marblehead and Swampscott.
His North Shore roots, however, go deeper than that. When his grandparents immigrated from Russia in the early 1900s, his grandmother was sponsored by a well-known local congressman: Henry Cabot Lodge.
Fishman believes voters need a viable alternative to the two-party system.
“Both parties are really engaged in a system of one-upsmanship,” he said. “We can as people right now reclaim our government.”
Ben Adelman can be reached via email through email@example.com.