PITTSFIELD -- Ramping up his campaign for a Sept. 6 primary, congressional candidate Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. contrasted his views and voting record with that of incumbent U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, at an editorial board meeting with the Transcript and The Berkshire Eagle on Tuesday.
From housing and mortgage policies to consumer protection, health care and financial reform, Nuciforo repeatedly returned to a theme: "Where has Congressman Neal been?"
Positioning himself against a longtime incumbent congressman of the state's 1st Congressional District with a roughly six to one disadvantage in financial backing, the 48-year-old Pittsfield native re mained undeterred.
"Seniority matters, but results matter more," Nuci foro said during the meeting at The Eagle's office. "We need a change this year."
Nuciforo will face Neal and Alford political acti vist and writer Bill Shein in September's primary. Since there is no Republican in the race, the 1st Congressional District will be decided then.
Nuciforo, with six years served as Berkshire Middle District Register of Deeds and a decade representing the Berkshire district in the state Senate from 1997 to 2007, thinks of himself as the right person for the job.
Nuciforo credited himself with authoring the 2004 Anti-Predatory Lending bill -- which he described as the toughest lending bill of its kind in the country, preventing companies from making high-cost mortgage loans to unsuspecting buyers -- and said this was while Congressman Neal "again was advancing a Wall Street agenda that ultimately led to the collapse of the financial markets."
"Think about what I was doing on Beacon Hill and compare that to what my opponent was doing on Capitol Hill," Nuciforo said.
Nuciforo went on to characterize Neal as a "very conservative Democrat," taking him to task for his support of five key Congressional measures to deregulate the financial markets passed in the 90s and in the last decade.
Nuciforo said these measures allowed banks to grow at unprecedented rates through interstate bank branching, and opened the door for increased high-risk speculation and derivative trading by dismantling the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act. All this was while also allowing the banks to be gin buying up mortgages, a practice he linked to the housing bubble and resulting collapse in 2008.
"It's rare to find a member of either party in Washington that advanced that Wall Street agenda more enthusiastically than Congressman Neal did," Nuciforo said.
Nuciforo supports reinstating Glass-Steagall-style regulations on speculation in the financial markets.
Voicing his support for a single-payer health care system, which he said the commonwealth has "been ready" for since the 90s, and for the repeal of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision of 2010, Nuciforo accused Neal of failing to do likewise until this election cycle, in April 2012, he said.
Giving a nod to the high senior population of Northern Berkshire, Nuciforo said he'd fight against any attempts in Washing ton to tamper with Social Security and Medicare.
Summing up the afternoon, Nuciforo said:
"We need a strong democrat in Wash ington sticking up for us."