After his aviation tenure, Gomez’s work as a Navy SEAL took him to various South American countries, including Colombia and Peru. Once, in a personal rather than an official capacity, he accompanied some medics on a humanitarian trip, and was impressed by Americans’ generosity abroad. “A lot of them,” Gomez recalls of the people he saw treated, “had never had their teeth checked or never had a check-up by a doctor.”
He met his wife, Sarah, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. She was working as a Peace Corps volunteer there, teaching special-needs children. “There’s no Democrat I can’t work with,” Gomez jokes. “I would argue that if a Navy Seal can talk a Peace Corps volunteer into marrying him, I think I can work with anybody.”
If elected, Gomez hopes to build relationships with senators from both parties. When I ask him about his statement last week that he would like to make the Gang of Eight a “Gang of Nine,” he quickly says, “I’d like to make it the gang of ten if Elizabeth Warren would join me.” He also singles out John McCain as someone he’d like to work with, particularly on immigration reform.
Gomez doesn’t intend to consistently toe the party line. He easily rattles off a list of five issues on which he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with the Republican party. Gun control (Gomez wants expanded background checks, and supports the Toomey-Manchin bill) and immigration reform are two of them. And he supports gay marriage: “I think if people are in love, they should be able to get married,” he says. Gomez is fine with states deciding whether to permit gay marriage or not, but he does want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed.
The candidate says, “I hope to represent all the people, as opposed to just a privileged view. I’m a green Republican. I believe in climate change. A lot of my friends in the Republican party try to deny science.” But, he adds, “I think a lot of Democrats deny math.”
Gomez stresses that he is a Republican at heart. “I’ve been a Republican my whole life,” he says. “I’m Republican because I believe in the core Republican principles of more personal responsibility, more personal freedom, and smaller, more effective government.”
Gomez, whose parents are immigrants, also thinks his Hispanic heritage could help him be an effective ambassador for the GOP. He learned Spanish before English as a child and speaks it frequently, and says he’s done some stump speeches and Q&As in Spanish. He has hope for GOP outreach to Hispanics, saying he’s “found through the campaign that they’re extremely receptive.”
Ultimately, Gomez thinks that if Bay State voters get to know the real him, he’ll beat Markey.
“He’s trying to scare people into thinking that I’m somebody I’m not,” Gomez says.“And I think it’s because he’s scared, because knows what the polls are showing.”