Gomez addressing dozens of supporters at Lenco in Pittsfield.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With a backdrop of Lenco-made armored vehicles, U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez make the case Tuesday that he is a stronger voice for homeland security than his opponent.
The Cohasset Republican is campaigning for the special election to replace the seat vacated by John Kerry. He is up against Democrat Edward Markey, a U.S. House member representing the 5th Massachusetts District.
Gomez held a rally Tuesday at Lenco and cited reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and two resolutions honoring the victims of 9/11 as bills he supports and that Markey had opposed.
Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, believes he is the better candidate to make decisions regarding homeland security.
"We live in a dangerous world, which we were reminded of five weeks ago. We need someone who will be strong on national security. My opponent could not be any weaker on national security."
Gomez ran the Boston Marathon, finishing just shortly before the bombs went off. He recalled the "amazing" scene of first responders rushing in to help and then a few days later when police shut down the city to find and capture Dzokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of being one of the bombers.
That day was a "reminder" of how increasingly dangerous the world is now, he said.
"We've got to make sure not only our troops but our law enforcement and emergency responders are safe. And it is because of this company right here that they are," Gomez said standing in front of a newly built armored BearCat, the the same type used by many law enforcement agencies in Tsarnaev's capture .
Following Tsarnaev's arrest, Gomez said it was provisions in the Patriot Act that should have been followed. Gomez says instead of being held as a suspect, Tsarnaev, an American citizen, should have been held as an enemy combatant.
"He should not have been read his Miranda rights. We still don't know where he trained, who he trained, what he was trained in and how he trained and potential other threats that are out there that we could be facing," Gomez said. "It is within our right to hold someone as an enemy combatant."
Markey voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act, whereas Gomez believes it provides law enforcement needed tools. Markey, a 37-year House veteran, voted twice against resolutions to honor victims of the 9/11 attacks, which Gomez said was "unconscionable." Markey said he voted against them because it linked the attacks to Iraq and referenced the Patriot Act. But Gomez calls that a partisan choice and not one for the people.
"One of the main difference between me and Congressman Markey is that he will put party and politics above everything else. I will always put the people ahead of party and politics," said Gomez, a newcomer to politics.
Markey also voted against the formation of the Department of Homeland Security saying it took away collective bargaining rights of some federal workers.
While Gomez mostly focused on homeland security Tuesday, he addressed an array of issues while answering questions from the dozens there.
Mostly, Gomez painted a moderate position, saying he supports background checks for gun purchases and that he supports the idea of the Affordable Health Care Act but would repeal many parts of it.
"When I go down to D.C. I will look at every bill that is front of me and the first question I will ask is, does it follow my fiscal conservative beliefs?' And then second, is this important, is it right for the people of Massachusetts?" Gomez said, striking a similar tone to former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, to whom Gomez has been compared. "It shouldn't matter who gets the credit as long as it is the right thing to do."
Those positions were also coupled with his belief in decreasing the corporate tax, support for defense spending and proposing an "adult discussion on entitlements."
He calls for increasing the retirement age and implementing means testing for Medicaid and Medicare.
"I'm a Navy guy. I am a father. I am a husband. I am an American. I am with the Republican Party and have been all my life. But I am not tied to an ideological position," he said of his stance on issues.
The statewide election will be held on June 25, leaving the campaigns just short of five weeks to rally their respective supporters.
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Clarksburg: Election, May 27; town meeting, May 28
Williamstown: Election, May 13, 7-8; town meeting, May 20, 7 p.m.
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