SALEM — In less than three weeks, Congressman-elect Seth Moulton will become Congressman Seth Moulton.
The 36-year-old Salem resident will be sworn in as a member of the 114th Congress on Jan. 6, becoming the first new representative for the Sixth District in 18 years.
In the meantime, he’s looking for a home in Washington, D.C., sifting through 600 applications for 15 jobs on his staff, and searching for an office on the North Shore.
Speaking at the Salem Chamber of Commerce’s annual holiday breakfast on Thursday, Moulton vowed to fulfill a campaign promise to bridge the partisan divide in Congress and said he has taken initial steps to make Lynn a magnet for start-up companies.
Moulton, a Democrat who knocked off Democratic incumbent John Tierney, also disputed the contention that his freshman status in Congress will hurt his ability to secure federal funding for projects in his home district. He said the role of a congressman has changed since Congress banned earmarks, the special provisions that allowed lawmakers to include pet projects in spending bills.
“It used to be that a congressman would go to Washington and work his way up the ranks and use earmarks to bring home the bacon,” he said. “There are no more earmarks. My role is to act as a convener, to bring together the public and private sector.”
Moulton said he has already started to play that role in Lynn, the Sixth District’s largest city. He said a consulting firm has agreed to work for free on ways to turn Lynn into a “magnet” city for start-up companies that are outgrowing their space in Boston.
Moulton cited the Brooklyn Navy Yard industrial park, which has attracted companies from Manhattan, as a model to help spur a transformation in Lynn.
Moulton said the emphasis during his campaign on reviving Lynn prompted some Salem people to ask, “What about us?” But he said improvements in Lynn, which he called “the gateway to the district,” will benefit the entire area.
“Salem has made tremendous progress over the last decade,” he said.
During a question-and-answer session with the audience, Salem Witch Museum CEO Biff Michaud told Moulton he voted for him even though he is a Republican. He asked Moulton to do “what’s good for America,” not for his political party.
“That should be your legacy,” Michaud said. “We’re depending on you.”
“This is absolutely something I see as a mandate for this election,” Moulton responded. “A lot of Republicans went across the aisle and voted for me. A lot of lifelong Republicans got in my face and said, ‘Seth, I’ve never voted Democrat but I’m voting for you.’ ”
Moulton called his promise to work across party lines a “hallmark” of his campaign. “And I hope it will be part of my legacy,” he said.
Moulton said he will use Tierney’s office in Peabody as his district office on a temporary basis but is looking for a permanent location. He asked the room full of Salem business people to let him know of any potential sites in Salem.
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