BILLERICA -- The presumptive rematch between Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney and his Republican challenger Richard Tisei gives voters one of the clearest-cut contrasts on business issues, in the eyes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Touring the medical-device company Belmont Instrument Corporation with Tisei Tuesday morning, Chamber Senior Vice President Rob Engstrom called Tisei a friend of business.
Engstrom is set to deliver a formal endorsement on behalf of the chamber this afternoon in Lynn.
"The current congressman is hostile to our membership," Engstrom told The Sun. "He is a direct threat to our free enterprise system."
The chamber wants to see a more moderate Congress and believes Tisei, who owns a real-estate firm, will bring a necessary change, Engstrom said.
Last month, the national business group started running television ads in support of Tisei, and Engstrom said Tuesday the group plans to be vocal in its criticism of Tierney.
The incumbent Tierney faces a challenge from three other candidates within his own party. Democrats Seth Moulton of Salem, Marisa DeFranco of Middleton and John Devine of Rockport are also seeking the nomination.
Tierney is running with the backing of party leadership. At an event in Lowell Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Niki Tsongas both expressed their support for Tierney.
"Wasn't that an interesting contrast?" Engstrom said. "Congressman Tierney can stand with Nancy Pelosi, and America's job creators will stand with Richard Tisei."
The district includes Billerica, as well as Bedford, Burlington, Tewskbury and Wilmington.
In their tour of Belmont Instrument Corporation's Cook Street offices, Tisei and Engstrom heard from company president George Herzlinger about the challenges presented by government regulations.
Belmont was launched in 1980 with no outside money, a strategy that Herzlinger said he "wouldn't recommend to anybody."
Tisei asked Herzlinger if he thought he'd be able to start Belmont in today's business environment, which the candidate has critiqued as being hostile to entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
"I wouldn't be able to do it the same way," Herzlinger said. "I can't do it self-financed. There's too many regulations. Even the FDA has changed."
For more on this story, see Wednesday's Sun or visit http://www.lowellsun.com.