Opinion

Editorial: The 6th should welcome the debate

He’s a political newcomer, but Joseph S. Schneider has a compelling and very American story to tell as he campaigns across the 6th Congressional District this summer and fall hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton in November.

Moulton is a Democrat and Schneider a Republican. Moulton turns 40 this fall and Schneider is 67. Other contrasts between the two are easy to draw, but Moulton and Schneider also share similarities.

Moulton served four tours of duty as a Marine Corps officer. Schneider is a Green Beret. Moulton holds degrees from Harvard Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government. So does Schneider.

Moulton is the former managing director of Texas Central Railway where he formed an appreciation for high-speed rail. Schneider has a more extensive business resume.

He founded JSA Partners, a strategic management consulting firm advising the aerospace and defense industries, in 1981, and previously built a company that was acquired by a division of General Motors.

He is also an immigrant who left then-Communist Romania and proudly boasts how he was accepted into West Point soon after becoming an American citizen.

Moulton is running for a third term in November. Notwithstanding its relatively recent history of electing a Republican to Congress (Peter Torkildsen, who served from 1993-97), the 6th Congressional District has been consistent in voters’ support for Democrat candidates.

Moulton is a Salem Democrat and Massachusetts congressman, but among his interests is reshaping the Democratic party’s national leadership and getting fellow veterans to run and get elected to Congress.

He is, in the parlance, a political player who will be quoted by national media outlets this fall when they analyze the midterm elections and weigh the results to make predictions about Donald Trump’s political future.

As Republican political operative Sandy Tennant said, Schneider ” … has been successful throughout his life.”

In the next few months as Joe Schneider crisscrosses the 6th District from Amesbury, to Wilmington, to Rockport, and to Lynn, he needs to tell his story. He should shuck the political platitudes and the executive-speak and tell frankly and simply the story of a youth who lived under the yoke of tyranny and came to the land of promise where he offered himself up on the altar of sacrifice as a soldier and leader of men and women.

He lived his new life the American way by launching a business, making money and aiming ever higher even as he started a family and reaped the rewards of hard work. He is, by any measure, a success story and his story can resonate with people across the 6th District over the course of the summer and early fall.

Will telling his story catapult Joe Schneider to a Scott Brown-like upset victory in November? Who knows? But the candidacy — any candidacy — will prove to voters that America still includes people who are grateful enough for the freedoms they have enjoyed in this country to try to give back to it by seeking public office.

As political candidates go, Joe Schneider is as green as they come. But we in the 6th District should appreciate his candidacy because it offers the one thing all voters should expect at the polls: a choice.

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