Who is Seth Moulton? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate

 

Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to www.politifact.com/2020/

Seth Moulton served four tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine, then won election three times to a U.S. House seat in Massachusetts, representing the district where he grew up.

Moulton, 41, earned three degrees from Harvard University — a bachelor’s, an M.B.A., and a master’s in public affairs. After earning his undergraduate degree in physics, Moulton joined the Marines, shortly before 9/11.

Moulton was among the first troops to enter Baghdad in 2003, and he was later assigned by Gen. David Petraeus to serve as a liaison to tribal leaders. Moulton earned two decorations for heroism. Personally, though, he had doubts about the war.

Moulton told The Atlantic that he remembers the moment in Iraq when he decided he wanted to enter politics. "It was after a difficult day in Najaf in 2004," he said. "A young marine in my platoon said, ‘Sir, you should run for Congress someday, so this s--- doesn’t happen again.’"

In 2014, Moulton defeated a scandal-weakened Democratic incumbent in a primary, then won the general election with 54% of the vote. He won reelection twice.

In Congress, Moulton took an active role on military issues as a member of the House Armed Services Committee. At times, he criticized President Barack Obama, including when Obama declined to describe the post-war military deployment to Iraq as a combat mission.

Moulton also ruffled feathers as leader of a House Democratic faction that sought to keep House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker after the party won control of the House in 2018. Their efforts failed.

Shortly after he announced his presidential bid in 2019, Moulton publicly disclosed his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder.

One of his policy proposals includes requirements for yearly mental health checkups for active-duty military personnel and veterans, counseling in the first two weeks after combat deployment, and annual mental health screenings for high school students.

He also supports a national service program, a public health care option, and the Green New Deal blueprint to counter climate change.

 

Name: Seth Moulton

Current occupation: U.S. House of Representatives, Massachusetts 6th District

Party: Democratic Party

Federal offices: U.S. House, 2015-present

Key votes: Revise Obamacare: No; December 2017 tax bill: No; Revise Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill: No.

State and local offices: None

Private sector work: Railway managing director, 2011-12; health care company president, 2012-13.

Military: U.S. Marine Corps infantry captain, including service in Iraq

Books authored: "Called to Serve: Learning to Lead in War and Peace" (forthcoming)

Education: Harvard University, B.A., M.P.A, and M.B.A.

Birth date: Oct. 24, 1978

Personal life: Liz Boardman (wife), one daughter

Religion: Non-denominational Christian

Top issues: Health care, mental health, foreign policy, national service, climate change

Endorsements: None disclosed

Major donors: Moulton’s top sectoral donors during his congressional career have been, in descending order, liberal groups, securities/investments, and lawyers/law firms.

Miscellaneous: Ironically for a future Marine, Moulton’s parents — who had protested the Vietnam War -- forbade their children from playing with toy guns. "Moulton was the kid squirting water at his friends out of the mouth of a plastic fish," Boston magazine reported.

Other coverage: PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter; Politico, "Seth Moulton discloses PTSD, unveils military mental health proposal," May 28, 2019; Boston Globe, "Here’s what Seth Moulton said about failing to make the first Democratic debate," June 14, 2019; PBS NewsHour, "Why Seth Moulton thinks impeachment is the right thing to do," June 11, 2019; WBUR, "2020 Candidate Rep. Seth Moulton On Mental Health, Marines Service, More," June 4, 2019; Boston Globe, "He may not become president, but Seth Moulton has done his country some service," May 30, 2019; Boston magazine, "The Kamikaze Candidate: Inside Seth Moulton’s Bid for the White House," June 11, 2019

Campaign website: https://sethmoulton.com/