SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 26, 2012

Rep candidates face off

Speliotis, Bennett spar over local aid, homeless families

DANVERS — Selectman Dan Bennett, the Republican challenger for the 13th Essex District seat, butted heads yesterday with Democratic state Rep. Ted Speliotis over state aid, homeless families living in motels, Beacon Hill ethics and other topics in an often testy exchange during an editorial board meeting at The Salem News.

Bennett launched the first attack, and stayed on the attack, even when Speliotis declined to criticize, or even discuss, his opponent.

The two men are running in the only contested state representative race on the North Shore, a result of Bennett’s last-minute sticker campaign to get his name on the ballot during the Republican primary last month. It is also a rematch of two years ago, when Bennett challenged Speliotis unsuccessfully.

Bennett opened the discussion by criticizing Speliotis for taking too much credit for the increase in local aid to Danvers, and the newspaper because a chart showing local aid numbers didn’t go back far enough. Had it included fiscal 2009, before the state made deep cuts to local aid, it would have shown that the town still has less local aid than it did then, Bennett said.

“Ted, do you remember the local aid to Danvers in 2009?” Bennett asked.

“I do,” Speliotis said.

“And,” Bennett replied.

“What do you want me to say? It’s your minutes,” Speliotis said. “You do what you want to do, and (then) I’ll talk.”

That tenor continued through the hourlong meeting.

“If Ted wants to take credit for the 26 percent increase in this year’s local aid,” Bennett said, “he should take responsibility for the decrease back in 2009 and 2010.”

“Now you said something I can respond to,” Speliotis replied, recalling a past selectmen’s meeting when Bennett and others criticized state lawmakers for cuts to local aid.

“It was unabashed,” Speliotis said of the criticism, “and people refused to acknowledge we were in the worst economic times of our lives. ... The vast majority of state income is based on two revenue sources, income and sales taxes.” Those two collapsed during the recession, he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Election

Local News
  • Keenan to resign to take Salem State job

    SALEM — State Rep. John Keenan said Tuesday he will resign from office Aug. 24 to take a new job as vice president of administration at Salem State University.
    His announcement ended months of speculation about where the five-term Democrat would end up after leaving the Legislature. As it turns out, he is leaving four months before his term would have expired.

    July 29, 2014

  • 140730_SN_DLE_DEMOLITION5 Demolition of Salem Harbor Station begins

    SALEM -- It all begins with B5. Or ends, depending on how you look at it. Demolition began at Salem Harbor Station Wednesday afternoon, with crews first setting upon one of the power plant's 11 steel tanks. The work was supposed to begin Monday, but

    July 31, 2014 7 Photos

  • Market Basket seeks replacement workers through job fair next week

    Market Basket began advertising a job fair for store managers and assistant managers in a direct shot at the current managers who signed petitions Monday threatening to resign if former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas is not rehired. The ad, which will appear

    July 31, 2014 2 Stories

  • Mary Manning Recovering Salem principal says thanks

    SALEM -- Just about a month before she was set to retire after 25 years as the principal of Collins Middle School, Mary Manning entered the hospital with a life-threatening condition. She hasn't been home since. A month later, in June, friends and co

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Former school janitor Robert Scribner sentenced for assaults in truck

    SALEM -- A now-former Marblehead school janitor was ordered to serve a year in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges that he assaulted and threatened to kill his estranged girlfriend after trapping her in his pickup truck in May. Robert Scr

    July 31, 2014