Seth Moulton

Seth Moulton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceding John F. Tierney
Personal details
Born Seth Wilbur Moulton
(1978-10-24) October 24, 1978
Salem, Massachusetts
Political party Democratic
Residence Salem, Massachusetts
Education Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
Alma mater Harvard University (B.S., M.B.A., M.P.A.)
Occupation Military officer, businessman
Religion Christian[1]
Website U.S. House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Marine Corps
Years of service 2001–2008
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Iraq War
Awards Bronze Star Medal
Commendation Medal

Seth Wilbur Moulton (born October 24, 1978) is an American former Marine Corps officer and a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts's 6th congressional district.

After graduating from Harvard University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in physics, Moulton joined the United States Marine Corps. He served four tours in the Iraq War and between those tours earned his master's degrees in business and public administration in a dual program at Harvard University.

He entered politics in 2014, running for Massachusetts's 6th congressional district. He defeated incumbent Congressman John F. Tierney in the Democratic primary and then defeated former Republican State Senator Richard Tisei in the general election.

Early life, education, and commission

Seth Wilbur Moulton was born on October 24, 1978, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Lynn Alice (née Meader), a secretary, and Wilbur Thomas Moulton, Jr., a real estate attorney.[2][3][4] Moulton grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, as the oldest of three siblings.[2] He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, a co-educational boarding and day university-preparatory school in Andover, Massachusetts in 1997,[5] and attended Harvard University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in physics in 2001. He gave the Undergraduate English Oration at his commencement address, focusing on the importance of service.[6]

Moulton joined the Marine Corps after graduation, a few months before the September 11 attacks,[7] and attended the Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. After graduating in 2002 with the rank of second lieutenant, Moulton was among the first service members to enter Baghdad at the beginning of the Iraq War.[2][6]

Military career

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Moulton led one of the first infantry platoons to enter Baghdad. He served a total of four tours of duty in Iraq from 2003 to 2008.[2] Moulton took part in the 2003 Battle of Nasiriyah, leading a platoon that cleared a hostile stronghold. In that action, he went to the aid of a Marine wounded by friendly fire, and for his actions he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for valor.[8] Moulton was active in combat against insurgent forces in Iraq, including the 2004 Battle of Najaf against the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr.[9] Over two days, he "fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire" as his platoon was pinned down under heavy fire and then directed the supporting fire that repelled the attack. He received the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in this battle.[8] He told only his campaign manager, a former Marine, about these awards, keeping them secret even from his parents. When Boston Globe reporter Walter V. Robinson disclosed in October 2014 that Moulton had earned the Bronze Star and the Commendation Medal, Moulton said that "There is a healthy disrespect among veterans who served on the front lines for people who walk around telling war stories". He said he was uncomfortable calling attention to his own awards out of respect to "many others who did heroic things and received no awards at all." He asked Robinson not to refer to him as a hero: "Look, we served our country, and we served the guys next to us. And it's not something to brag about." The Globe reported that "his voice choked with emotion" as he added: "The greatest honor of my life was to lead these men in my platoon, even though it was a war that I and they disagreed with."[8]

In 2008, General David Petraeus requested Moulton's assignment to work as a special liaison with tribal leaders in Southern Iraq during his fourth tour of duty in Iraq. Following that tour, Moulton left the Marine Corps with the rank of captain.[2][10][11]

Media contributions

In 2003, Moulton co-hosted a television program with his Iraqi interpreter, Mohammed Harba, called "Moulton and Mohammed," during which they discussed regional conditions in the period following the U.S. invasion before an audience of U.S. servicemen and Iraqi citizens.[12] The show ended after three months when Moulton's unit left the area.[2]

Between 2003 and 2008, Moulton was frequently interviewed about his experiences as an officer in Iraq by U.S. national media, including CNN, MSNBC, and NPR programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered.[2][13]

And are you telling me that's the best America can do? No. Don't tell me that, don't tell the Marines who fought for a month in Najaf that, don't tell the marines who are still fighting every day in Fallujah that that's the best America can do... That makes me angry.

No End in Sight, Seth Moulton

Moulton was also prominently featured in the Academy Award-nominated 2007 documentary No End in Sight. In the film, Moulton criticized the U.S. government's handling of the occupation of Iraq. UCLA anthropology professor Sherry Ortner wrote that Moulton's comments "sum[med] up the emotional tone of the film."[14]

Following his return from active duty with the Marines in 2008, Moulton attended a dual degree program at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, receiving master's degrees in business and public administration in 2011.[15]

Private sector career

After graduate school, Moulton worked for one year as managing director of the Texas Central Railway, a transportation firm which is in the process of building a high-speed rail connection between Houston and Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas.[16]

U.S. House of Representatives


2012 speculation

Moulton had considered running against Democratic Representative John F. Tierney of Massachusetts's 6th congressional district as an Independent in the 2012 elections, but he decided against it in July 2012, saying that "the time and the logistics of putting together all the campaign infrastructure, organizing the volunteers ... the fundraising—it's just too much to accomplish in three months." Had he run and been elected, he would have caucused with the Democrats. He told Roll Call that his own polling "showed there was in fact a clear path to victory" and said he might run for office in the future.[17]

2014 election

On July 8, 2013, Moulton announced his candidacy in the 2014 congressional race for Massachusetts' 6th district.[18] The race had been recognized for its competitiveness by national and regional media throughout the election cycle.[19][20][21][22][23] Moulton challenged incumbent Congressman John Tierney in the Democratic primary. According to Time magazine political columnist Joe Klein, Moulton "has refused to distinguish himself from Tierney on most issues. He's running on freshness and dynamism."[22] The Boston Globe editorial board wrote: "Moulton and Tierney share nearly identical political views, but Moulton's background, and his approach to discussing the issues, suggests an openness to new perspectives."[16]

Tierney's campaign claimed in campaign advertisements that Moulton received campaign contributions from a New Hampshire political action committee that previously donated only to Republicans, implying that Moulton must hold conservative views.[24] Moulton denied being more conservative than his opponent,[25] and stated that the Republican PAC donation was returned. Public Federal Election Commission filings confirmed that the donation was returned in February 2014.[24]

Moulton said that he personally opposed the Iraq War in which he served. A Tierney campaign staff member said that Moulton had "changed his mind" and highlighted Tierney's vote in Congress to oppose the 2002 resolution authorizing the U.S. Invasion of Iraq.[25] Moulton also received the first-ever political endorsement from Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal during the campaign.[26]

Moulton defeated Tierney in the primary, winning with 50.8% of the vote to Tierney's 40.1%.[27]

Moulton was endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren[28] for the general election. In October 2014, he withdrew from a debate sponsored by radio station WGBH because of a series of New York fundraisers, where he welcomed Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.[29] The Moulton and Tisei campaigns were held up as an example of how candidates can compete with respect for each other.[30]

Moulton defeated Republican nominee Richard Tisei in the general election.


Moulton was sworn in to the 114th United States Congress on January 3, 2015.[31]

Committee assignments
114th Congress (2015–17)[32][33]

Moulton is one of five House members who has been "far more reliant on the financial world" to finance his 2016 election campaigns than most others running for a [House] seat, raising $255,799 from the securities and investment industry, with Goldman Sachs and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway standing out.[34]

Political views

In Moulton's campaign advertisements, he has referred to himself as a "progressive Democrat".[35]

Moulton is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, which is a congressional caucus made up of Democrats who support an agenda that the organization describes as "pro-growth and fiscally-responsible."[36]

Views on marijuana

Seth Moulton has admitted to using marijuana and supports legalization stating, "If you're not buying your marijuana from a dealer who sells heroin, who sells opioids, it's much less likely to be a gateway drug," he said. "The problem is now that it operates in the shadows. There's no control whatsoever. Someone goes and buys an edible, for example, there's no regulation about what's in that. It's like moonshine under Prohibition."[37]

Foreign policy

Moulton stated his opposition to sending U.S. troops back to Iraq in 2014.[38]

Social issues

Moulton supports same-sex marriage and abortion rights.[39][40] He supports increased gun control.[41]

Transportation policy

Moulton is a supporter of implementing high speed rail lines in Massachusetts.[42][43]

Economic policy

In March 2016, with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Moulton said he needed to further analyze the proposal.[44]

Energy policy

Moulton supports the expansion of nuclear energy.[45]

Views on Donald Trump

In an interview with The Boston Globe in March 2016, Moulton compared the rise of the Republican presidential front runner, Donald Trump with Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s. Moulton said that voters should read the history on how the German people elected Hitler in the early 20th century, to understand how an educated society "can elect a demagogue."[44]

Gun policy

On June 15, 2016, Moulton appeared on the cover[46] of the New York Daily News with the statement 'No Civilian Should Own This Gun' in reference to semi-automatic assault weapons. The cover pictures Moulton from his military service during a deployment to Iraq, carrying an issued M4 carbine, a machinegun regulated under the National Firearms Act, and which has never been available for public sale in a domestic, civil market.

Moulton penned an opinion piece promoting gun control, including the statement: "There’s simply no reason for a civilian to own a military-style assault weapon. It’s no different than why we outlaw civilian ownership of rockets and landmines."[47]

Electoral history

Year Election Office District Democrat Democrat
2014 Primary U.S. House of Representatives Massachusetts 6th District Seth Moulton 50.8% John F. Tierney 40.1%
Year Election Office District Democrat Republican
2014 General U.S. House of Representatives Massachusetts 6th District Seth Moulton 54.50 Richard Tisei 40.70%

See also


  1. "Religions of our representatives". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Phyllis Karas (February 2008). "How the Moultons Made Peace with the War". Boston Magazine.
  3. "0695. Lynn Alice Meade". Meader Family Organization. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  4. Gomes, Peter J. (2003). The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need. HarperOne. p. 365. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  5. "Seth Moulton '97 talks about service on April 22". Phillips Academy.
  6. 1 2 "War Profiles: Seth W. Moulton '01, 2nd Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps". Harvard Crimson. June 5, 2003.
  7. Jeremy W. Peters (February 8, 2015). "Disillusioned in Iraq, but Prodded to Serve Again". New York Times.
  8. 1 2 3 Robinson, Walter V. (October 18, 2014). "Seth Moulton underplays military service". The Boston Globe.
  9. "Director's Interview: Charles Ferguson". PBS. April 20, 2007.
  10. Sundaram, Kailash (September 12, 2014). "Seth Moulton '97 Wins The Democratic Party Primary". Phillips Academy.
  11. Ebbert, Stephanie (May 11, 2014). "Marine Veteran Seth Moulton Wages Insurgent Campaign Against Fellow Democrat John Tierney". Boston Globe. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  12. "Moulton & Mohammed". American Public Media. January 6, 2007.
  13. "Search Results:Seth Moulton".
  14. Ortner, Sherry B. (2013). Not Hollywood: Independent Film at the Twilight of the American Dream. Duke University Press. p. 245. ISBN 978-0822354260. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  15. O'Sullivan Jim (July 7, 2014). "Tierney faces Democratic challenger for his seat". Boston Globe. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  16. 1 2 "Seth Moulton For Congress". Boston Globe. September 2, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  17. "Massachusetts: Independent Seth Moulton Will Not Run". Roll Call. July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  18. Lannan, Katie (July 10, 2013). "Moulton Launches Tierney Challenge". Lowell Sun. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  19. Taylor, Jessica (November 15, 2013). "The 39 Democrats who broke ranks from Obama". MSNBC. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  20. Caldwell, Leigh Ann; Steinhauser, Paul (January 1, 2014). "5 House Races to Watch in 2014". CNN. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  21. Gonzales, Nathan L. (August 21, 2014). "Top 5 Races to Watch in New England". Roll Call. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  22. 1 2 Klein, Joe (August 28, 2014). "A Battle of Two Veterans". Time. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  23. Woodruff, Betsy (September 3, 2014). "Iraq vet gives Tierney tough challenge in Massachusetts". Washington Examiner. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  24. 1 2 "John Tierney Launches Attack Against Democratic Challenger". Boston Globe. September 2, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  25. 1 2 "Seth Moulton puts John Tierney's Iraq vote back in play". Boston Globe. August 8, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  26. "Retired Gen. McChrystal endorses congress hopeful Moulton" by Joshua Miller, Boston Globe, August 4, 2014
  27. "Massachusetts Election Statistics". Massachusetts Election Division. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  28. "Elizabeth Warren endorses Seth Moulton for Congress". Boston Globe. Associated Press. September 28, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  29. Stout, Matt (October 7, 2014). "Richard Tisei rips Seth Moulton cash grab in 6th". Boston Herald. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  30. Zengerle, Jason (November 4, 2014). "This Massachusetts Race Will Restore Your Faith in Our Democracy". New Republic. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  31. "Congressman Seth Moulton Sworn-in to 114th Congress". Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  34. Will Tucker (1 June 2016). "Wall Street's fab five: House members, candidates most reliant on funding from finance industry". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  35. "Seth Moulton said he smoked Pot at Harvard, supports legalization". NoBo Magazine. August 13, 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  36. "Membership". New Democrat Coalition. March 22, 2016. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  37. Boston Magazine. September 19, 2016 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  38. "Seth Moulton's Bid to Unseat US Congressman John Tierney". New England Cable News. August 19, 2014.
  39. Snow, Justin (October 30, 2014). "Democrat Seth Moulton rejects support from same-sex marriage opponents". Metro Weekly. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  40. Zengerle, Jason (November 4, 2014). "This Massachusetts Race Will Restore Your Faith in Our Democracy". New Republic. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  41. Schoenberg, Shira (January 6, 2016). "Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Seth Moulton voice support for President Obama's gun laws". Mass Live. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  42. "Look to Texas Model for Boston rail link". Capital New York. March 24, 2016.
  43. "Riding the rails with Moulton". Salem News. March 29, 2016.
  44. 1 2 Andersen, Travis (2016-03-24). "Moulton compares Trump's rise to election of Hitler in 1930s". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  45. Wade, Christian M. (2015-10-29). "Pilgrim's closure revives nuclear energy debate". The Eagle-Tribune. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  46. "No Civilian Should Own This Weapon". New York Daily News. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  47. Moulton, Seth (14 June 2016). "Civilians have no reason for owning assault weapons, but Congress lacks the courage to stop them: Congressman and Iraq War vet". New York Daily News. Retrieved 17 June 2016.

External links

Preceded by
John F. Tierney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 6th congressional district

January 3, 2015  present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Alex Mooney
R-West Virginia
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Dan Newhouse
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