After losing the Fourth Congressional District race to Democrat Barney Frank in the 2010 election by 11 percentage points, Republican Sean Bielat thinks a second try in 2012 will pay off.
"We started something in 2010 and we are going to finish it in 2012," Bielat told a packed room at the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum Tuesday night.
The Norfolk resident will face a different opponent this time around. Frank after 16 terms in the House of Representatives. His final re-election bid against Bielat was his closest since 1982.
Frank acknowledged that redistricting played into his reason not to run. For Bielat, the loss of New Bedford and the addition of more conservative towns like Attleboro and Easton could help in his second bid.
"It created a fairer playing field," he said after his speech.
"I felt like we could have won last time. We didn’t obviously. Having a more fair playing field [will help]."
Bielat will square off against Elizabeth Childs of Brookline in the Republican primary. Democratic contenders include Brookline resident Jules Levine, Sharon resident Marty Farren, Attleboro resident Paul Heroux and Newton resident Herb Robinson.
Joseph Kennedy III made headlines earlier this month when he resigned from his post as the Middlesex County assistant district attorney to explore running for the seat.
Already anticipating Kennedy's potential front-runner status on the Democratic side, Bielat took a jab at him during his speech, saying that there is "no aristocracy" in American politics and contenders don't retain seats by "virtue of birth."
The audience applauded.
"I don't know why you're applauding," Bielat said. "Was that referring to somebody?"
Beilat enters the campaign with name recognition from 2010. He also had the backing of the Attleboro Republican Committee Tuesday night and Attleboro City Councilors Frank Cook, Richard Conti, Brian Kirby and Jay DiLisio.
He was introduced by State Rep. George Ross (R-Attleboro).
"This is no joke," Ross said.
"We need this guy. We need people to improve the quality of life - and by God we're going to get him."
Bielat used the backdrop of the Industrial Museum, saying that he came from a working class family. Both of his grandfathers held blue-collar positions, as a shovel line worker and a prison guard. His mother worked three jobs while his father attended college, he said.
The former Marine also comes from a military family. Both of his grandfathers served during World War II, and his father served during Vietnam.
"I don't come from privilege," he said. "I do come from a rich heritage of values."
Those values, he said, included courage, service and hard work, adding that he believes in "citizen legislators" who work in the communities and return from Washington after only a few terms of service. He said after his speech that he would only serve two or three terms if he were elected.
"We have too many professional politicians," he said.
Jobs and the economy would be his number one priority, he said. He said he would look to reform the tax code. He also said he believed in a government that was "limited" at the national level and "vibrant" at the local level.
"When you look around at unemployment and you look around at jobs in industry and jobs around the country, that’s the number one issue," he said after his speech.
"So, you start with that as the number one issue. The question then becomes what do you need to do from there and what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working. We need new ideas."
Bielat and his wife, Hope, had their second child two months ago. He said his two children are part of the reason he is running.
"As any parent will tell you, having kids changes you," he said.
"This election is about the children. It's about the future."