BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Republican U.S. Senate candidate Michael Sullivan kicked off his campaign Saturday, pledging to work to restrain spending, get the nation's debt under control and support strong foreign and national security policies.
Sullivan is one of three Republicans running in the GOP primary and the last to jump into the race. He began his run at a VFW post in his hometown of Abington.
The U.S. attorney said one of his top priorities is to reverse federal policies that he said "could hardly be more hostile to growth and opportunity if they were deliberately designed to do so."
He also faulted Congress and President Barack Obama for failing to come to grips with a soaring national debt.
"America is looking at the prospect of a debt crisis and yet all that many can talk about is more federal spending, more borrowing, more debt they will leave for others to pay," Sullivan said in prepared remarks. "They offer billion-dollar solutions, when we are dealing with trillion-dollar problems."
Sullivan also criticized what he described as "massive transfers of wealth from the people of this country to the banks and corporations of Wall Street."
"Firms we are told are 'too big to fail' have artificially inflated the stock market, to the great benefit of speculators," he said.
Sullivan's event comes two days after fellow Republican candidate Daniel Winslow held his own campaign kick-off.
The Norfolk state Representative and former judge criticized the federal spending cuts that recently went into effect after Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a compromise.
"We need to reduce federal spending, but we need to grow down the federal budget in a way that makes sense rather than across-the-board cuts that don't," Winslow said. "We need a new approach, new thinking, new ideas and new faces."
Winslow also offered a series of proposals including one which would exempt states that create their own health care program from the national health care law signed by Obama as long as that program meets or exceeds federal standards.
He said he also wants to simplify the federal tax system and make Massachusetts "the venue of choice" for patents, trademarks and intellectual property.
Another Republican candidate, Cohasset businessman and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez formally launched his campaign at the end of February.
Gomez said he favored term limits for Congress and a lifetime ban on lobbying by all former House and Senate members. He said no politicians in Washington should get paid until they resolve the fiscal stalemate that led to the $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts.
"I may not be the most popular guy in D.C. when I say this, but until they figure out what they are going to do on the sequester, I don't think any congressmen or the senators or the president should have a paycheck," he said.
Sullivan said he also understands the good things that government can do. He said as a prosecutor he learned that government can come to the aid to those in need or in peril.
"When children were endangered or abused, the state moved in to punish the offenders," he said. "When women were victims of brutality, we came to their defense, and brought the violent to justice."
Sullivan is currently a partner in the Boston office of The Ashcroft Group LLC, a law firm founded by former U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft.
All three Republican candidates have agreed to participate in their first debate of the campaign Tuesday at Stonehill College.
On the Democratic side, U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch have already announced their candidacies and begun campaigning. They have agreed to six debates.
The primaries are scheduled for April 30. The special election to take the seat of former Sen. John Kerry, now the secretary of state, is scheduled for June 25.