“It’s tough because this is how I campaign, and physically you can’t do what you can do in eight months,” Speliotis said. “But you try to replicate it, and you try to make it happen.”
In the Clinton Avenue neighborhood, he runs into Lisa Bucco as she pulls into her driveway. Bucco was involved in one of his first fundraisers in the 1980s, a fashion show at the Danversport Yacht Club. They grew up together on Appleton Street in Danversport.
“He was only a couple doors down,” Bucco said, “so when he was running and starting, the whole neighborhood was helping out.”
Later, he runs across a woman who says he helped her with a special education issue.
He stops to chat with Polly LeBlanc, who is in the area taking care of her grandchildren. “I think it’s great,” she says of his door-to-door campaigning. “ ... It’s so grass-roots. Good for you.”
Why is Speliotis using up so much shoe leather to retain his seat? He learned the importance of hustling, he says, when he was outspent $16,000 to $3,000 in his first election and still won by 800 votes, thanks to hard work. And after losing his seat for a period in the late 1980s, he is acutely aware that he could lose at any time — and he does not plan to give up without a fight.
But there’s more to it than that.
“What motivates me more now than anything else is I know how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am,” he said.
“I chair one of the busiest committees, one of the most important committees in the state. I am able to make a change, I’m able to help out people. I can do more in a month than I used to be able to do in a year, and I’m not giving it up.”