Merrimack resident and former Town Councilor Mike Malzone said he's had it with empty promises.
And he says that U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta's recent vote to increase the debt ceiling, rather than standing behind the promises he made going into office to hold the line, has pushed him to explore the option of running against Guinta for Congress in 2012.
Malzone, a 20-year resident of Merrimack and the founder of Merrimack's Tea Party, said he's sure he's not the only one who is upset with Guinta's vote in favor of the compromise bill.
"I bet you there's 1,000 people thinking the same thing as me today," Malzone said. "[Guinta's vote] was very disappointing and let us down … I don't really think there was any compromise made on raising the debt ceiling."
What's more is that he likes Guinta, Malzone said. Not only does he think the Congressman is a "good guy," he voted for him.
But, faced with a tough issue, Guinta didn't take the stand he said he would and Malzone said he thinks the decision was fueled by desire for re-election.
This is why he is creating an exploratory committee to investigate the possibility of starting congressional campaign, he said.
His decision is "simply for the fact that we voted for another person who let us down."
On Tuesday, Malzone created a Facebook page, "Mike Malzone For Congress Exploratory Committee." By Wednesday night 21 people "liked" the page.
Malzone said at this stage he's just putting feelers out to get a sense of what people in the First Congressional District in New Hampshire want. He and a handful of friends who have offered to help, plan to talk with voters in the district to get a read on how satisfied they are with Guinta's leadership.
Malzone said depending on the feedback, he'll determine his next move.
Self-employed, Malzone lays marble and ceramic tile floors and does custom bath and shower stalls, and he admits up front that a campaign like this would cost money he doesn't have.
He said people have been telling him for years he should run for state representative, but that it's a lot of time away from his work hampering his ability to put food on the table at home.
That said, if he finds that the people are calling for someone like him to oppose Guinta, he said he'd find a way to make it work.
Malzone's only political history is one term on the Town Council in Merrimack. During his time on the Council, he was embroiled in a heavy debate in 2007 and 2008 when signs displaying the rules at the town's public beach were to be posted in Spanish because some of the out-of-town beach-goers couldn't read them in English, according to published reports in the Telegraph of Nashua. He favored leaving the signs in English-only.
After deciding to leave the rules posted only in English, the Town Council took up further debate about who should be allowed to use the town beach. Four of six Councilors, Malzone included, approved an ordinance restricted to town residents and their guests, since residents were the ones paying for the beach that was largely crowded by out-of-towners, according to Telegraph reports.
After losing re-election in 2009, Malzone did not drop off the public radar. Earlier this year, Malzone formed the "Merrimack Tea" Facebook page, and the group itself, after becoming infuriated with the way he said the Town Council attempted to "double charge" the residents to use the town transfer station with a Pay-As-You-Throw trash plan that would require residents to purchase special trash bags to dispose of waste.
He said he's tired of local and national government telling the people what they need or want, rather than listening to what the public desires. Someone needs to back up what they say they'll do when they get to Washington, he said.
"It's easy to talk the talk, but when you get there, you need to walk the walk," he said.
Malzone said he's looking to hear from people over the next couple months about their opinions on Guinta's leadership and who they want to see represent them in Washington. He welcomes people to contact him either through his Facebook page or by giving him at call at home at 603-424-7794.
Further, he encouraged anyone else who's fed up with what's happening in Washington to consider exploring their own campaigns.
"We've got nothing to lose except this country," he said.
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