Wesley brings campaign to Springfield
Date: 7/26/2010July 26, 2010
By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD -- Tom Wesley said he "isn't running against Richard Neal as much as I am running for America."
The Hopedale Republican is one of two members of the GOP seeking the opportunity to confront the long-tenured Democrat in the November election. He is running in a primary against Dr. Jay Fleitman of Northampton.
Wesley was in Springfield July 20 at Pazzo's Restaurant for a fundraiser and spoke to Reminder Publications prior to the event.
Wesley is a former Naval aviator who served nine years on active duty and several more as a reservist. He also had assignments in the Pentagon during his Naval career. He is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Transportation and earned a Master of Science degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1999.
He has worked for both small and large businesses and currently is employed by the Waters Corporation, a life sciences company, based in Milford. He is active both in his church and in Boy Scouting.
He is running in part because he believes the nation is interested in a change of leadership and noted the congressional district represented by Neal and his predecessor Edward Boland has had "single party rule" for the past 57 years.
He started his campaign more than a year ago and said "America is changing too fast for its own good."
He views his candidacy as "a patriotic duty."
"I don't need to run for Congress to put it on a resume," he added.
He asserted the "bailouts, the stimulus and the healthcare reform [from the Obama Administration] are too much change, too much to digest."
He said a difference between himself and Neal is that Neal never has had a paycheck from a private sector company, but always from a government entity.
"He's never had to tighten his belt. He's had his pay raises," Wesley said.
Speaking about himself and Fleitman, Wesley said that both of them are conservatives and "there's not a lot of daylight" between their positions on issues.
The difference is in their experiences and Wesley believes his experiences in the Navy and international business have given him " a global perspective." His business experience also has allowed him to "understand what makes [business] move."
"I know the dynamics of manufacturing," he added.
He sees himself, of elected, serving on committees dealing with defense, intelligence and trade.
He admitted that Fleitman would know more about healthcare issues.
A primary issue for Wesley is job development. He believes if corporate taxes were cut, large companies wouldn't relocate operations elsewhere and some might even return manufacturing facilities to the United States. He used Ireland as an example of a country that has used low corporate taxes as a well to develop its employment base.
He is also in favor of reinstating a system of tariff on foreign goods, although he hesitated a bit to use that word. Rather, he said he would like to create incentives for businesses to keep jobs here and prices under control.
He acknowledged that American made goods might cost a bit more than those manufactured overseas and said if citizens want to preserve jobs there needs to be a "shared sacrifice."
He would also work toward changing the education system so it is preparing young people for entry into the job market. This would include an emphasis on post secondary education in math and science "to drive innovation."
"Without that we would go into a death spiral," he said.
Wesley said he is running a grassroots campaign with heavy use of social media. He realizes that Neal's $3 million war chest is formidable, but if one removed the contributions from people outside of the district as well as the political action committee, he and Neal would be "running neck and neck" dollar-wise.
He said being elected to Congress "may not be the best job I've had in my life, just the most important one."
For more information on Wesley's campaign go to www.tomwesley.com