This is the last of four profiles of the Democratic candidates for state Senate in the 2nd Essex District. The nominee will be elected in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 6.
PEABODY — Many people with Statehouse aspirations face long odds, but John Slattery’s odds were perhaps longer than most.
His parents divorced when he was very young, and his father died when he was 10. The divorce and his father’s death led to two stints in a public housing project in Lynn when he was a youngster. His mother, a high school dropout, worked as a house cleaner to support the family.
Later, he contended with the death of a brother, who died at the age of 29.
Despite those personal and financial hardships, Slattery worked his way through college and then law school and is now a successful attorney. He is also a former state representative from Peabody.
“Everybody’s character was shaped in part by their childhood,” said Slattery, who is one of four Democrats running for state Senate to replace Sen. Fred Berry. “It helped shaped a lot of my convictions but was not the sole determining factor.”
Still, it might come as no surprise that Slattery the elected official has a penchant for looking out for working-class families, the underprivileged, and folks trying to pull themselves up and achieve success.
“I’m running to ensure that the middle class is not squeezed out of the American dream,” he said in an interview. “As kids, we are told that if we work hard, we can be whatever we want. It should be no different today.”
Slattery has made education a hallmark of his campaign. He advocates for full-time kindergarten, smaller class sizes and a re-examination of the way the state doles out education aid. He also wants to better fund the state’s higher education system, which has fallen victim to budget cuts in recent years.