Candidate Profile: Richard Neal



Alice Wanamaker, Editor-In-Chief

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Richard Neal is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of two branches of Congress. Congress is responsible for creating and debating federal legislation. Neal has been a congressman since 1989, although he was redistricted in 2013. Before that, he served as mayor of Springfield from 1984-1988. He was born in Worcester and raised in Springfield, and he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from American International College and master’s degree in public administration from the University of Hartford. Neal is a member of the Catholic faith.

Neal was challenged by Tahirah Amatul-Wadud in the Democratic primary, but does not face a challenger in the general election.

LGBT+ Issues

Neal’s voting record supports marriage equality and anti-discrimination legislation. He voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and to protect gays in the military. He has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign. However, unlike many of their other endorsements, Neal did not receive a perfect score from this organization.


Neal voted repeatedly to protect or expand Medicare, and to expand health insurance for children. As a congressman, he was involved in the creation of the Affordable Care Act, and said in a primary debate this year that he believes expanding the ACA should be the next step in improving U.S. healthcare. However, he also sponsored a bill giving a religious exemption for the ACA to those whose religion prohibits that type of medical care. Neal has voted against bills intending to limit the severity of medical lawsuits. He does not support doctor-assisted suicide.


Neal supports public education. He has voted to increase funding to public schools, and has voted against school vouchers for private or charter schools. Neal voted in 2001 to require state testing. He has historically opposed allowing prayer in public schools.


In 2006, Neal voted against a bill to build a fence on the Mexican border. He had voted to increase immigrant visas for skilled workers, and not to report illegal immigrants who seek medical care in hospitals. In a primary debate, he and Amatul-Wadud agreed that immigration reform is needed in this country. His primary campaign called the Trump administration’s immigration policies ‘inhumane’.

Gun Control

Neal and Amatul-Wadud agreed in the primary that stricter gun legislation is necessary. He holds an F rating from the NRA, showing support for strict gun control.


Neal supports scientific research using embryos. However, he has voted to limit certain types of abortions. Although he has a 0% rating from the NRLC, a pro-life organization, he only has a 30% rating from NARAC, a pro-choice organization.



Gavin, Christopher. “Mass. Congressional Candidates in the 1st District Held Their First Debate. Here’s What They Said.”, The Boston Globe, 23 Aug. 2018,

“Meet Richie.” Congressman Richard Neal, 13 July 2018,

“Richard Neal on the Issues.” OnTheIssues, SpeakOut Foundation,

Young, Shannon. “1st Congressional District Race: Richard Neal, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud to Debate for 1st Time Wednesday.”,, 22 Aug. 2018,

Young, Shannon. “Human Rights Campaign Endorses US Rep. Richard Neal, Other Mass. Democratic Incumbents.”,, 9 Aug. 2018,



Leading up to the November 2018 midterms, we will be releasing profiles of candidates and ballot questions. Check back regularly as we add information that can guide you in making informed decisions this November!