DANVERS — Dan Bennett said he grew as a leader when he became president of the St. John’s Prep Parents Club while his son, James, attended the private Catholic boys prep school on Spring Street.
“I was recognized as the parent volunteer of the year,” Bennett said of his service from 1998 to 1999. “I found that the Prep was good for my son but also for myself, personally. It just gave me an entree into working with other folks, taking on a leadership role and helping the parents group in the school raise funds.”
Bennett has taken his share of hard political knocks, and that was before he ran a well-fought but unsuccessful campaign for state representative two years ago. He was elected to the Danvers School Committee in 1997, and served as chairman in 2000. That year, he suffered a setback as voters ousted him due to a failed Proposition 2 1/2 override to build a middle school/high school complex on Cabot Road, a project which never came to fruition, and which he regarded with doubt.
After the defeat, Bennett refused to give up and stayed involved in town politics.
Today, he’s two-term selectman, having served as a chairman from 2011 to 2012. He’s also a self-employed real estate broker, a long-time Essex Aggie trustee, and was recently voted an outstanding lieutenant governor of the New England District of Kiwanis.
For the second time in two years, Bennett, the former chairman of the Republican Town Committee, is seeking to oust an entrenched state lawmaker in Danvers Democrat Ted Speliotis.
Bennett, because of his work with Kiwanis and the Board of Selectmen, did not run for the Republican nomination during the primary. This summer, at the urging of supporters, he decided to run an uncontested write-in campaign to get his name on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.