By Bill Kirk
---- — Congressional candidate Seth Moulton says that Andover played a big role in his life.
Moulton, 34, now a Salem resident, attended four years of high school at Phillips Academy.
“The school motto is ‘non sibi’ — not for self — and public service is an essential part of the education,” Moulton, a 1997 graduate of Phillips, said. “Service is invoked throughout the school.”
It’s that sense of public service that prompted Moulton to enter the U.S. Marines after graduating from Harvard in 2001. Against the wishes of his parents, including his father, Cyrus Moulton, a real estate attorney from Marblehead, he joined the Marines just before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Moulton soon found himself in Iraq, where he served four tours of duty. After his return from Iraq, he went back to Harvard, earning a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration.
He went on to work for the Texas Central Railway and then returned to Massachusetts to start a health care company focusing on treating obesity as a disease.
Through it all, Moulton said, he remembers the “quiet, inspiring leadership” of Pete Washburn, a crew coach at Phillips.
“He was an example of the type of leader I wanted to be,” he said.
It’s that sense of public service that also propelled him to run for Congress against long-time incumbent John Tierney, D-Salem.
Last week, Moulton visited Andover to introduce himself to voters, starting off with breakfast at Shawsheen Luncheonette.
So far, his fledgling campaign has done well.
He raised $12,000 in the first 12 hours after announcing his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District, which includes cities and towns in Essex and Middlesex counties.
He has almost 1 1/2 years before the primary election to win over voters.
“I wouldn’t be in this race if I didn’t think I could win,” Moulton said during an interview at the offices of the Andover Townsman. “I’m frustrated with Congress and people are frustrated with the inability of Congress to get things done. They want change. They want a new generation of leaders.”
Tierney welcomes the challenge.
“I welcome people of all parties to the campaign to represent the residents and families of the 6th District in Congress,” he said in an emailed statement. “This process makes our democracy stronger and helps bring even greater attention to the critical issues facing those in our area.”
A political novice, Moulton realizes he’s got a long way to go and isn’t prepared yet to lay out the issues he feels are important in the district.
“This is a long campaign,” he said. “Over the course of the next year, I will roll out the issues I’m running on.”
One theme he hopes to hammer home is that people of all stripes — even diehard Republicans and diehard Democrats — can work together.
As a U.S. Marine in Iraq, he learned first-hand the meaning of public service.
“In Iraq, I served with people from all over the country,” he said. “We had to rise above our differences to serve America. There are always going to be people on both sides who don’t want to work with the other side. But there are enough people in the middle who want to get things done.”
The district includes the following communities:
In Essex County, the cities of Amesbury, Beverly, Gloucester, Lynn, Newburyport, Peabody and Salem and the towns of Andover (precincts 1, 7A, 8 and 9A), Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Groveland, Hamilton, Ipswich, Lynnfield, Manchester, Marblehead, Merrimac, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, North Andover, Rockport, Rowley, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, and West Newbury.
In Middlesex County, the towns of Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, North Reading, Reading, Tewksbury, Wakefield and Wilmington.