SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 28, 2014

Following cancer treatment, Hill gears up for campaign

Ipswich state rep. says he's ready for ninth term

(Continued)

He said his priorities moving forward are the economy, jobs and increasing Chapter 70 funds for suburban school districts. School funds are being distributed unfairly, he said.

“We’ve seen some changes in the formula, but we still haven’t seen equal distribution of the funds across the state like I would like to see,” he said.

Hill was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998. He represents the 4th Essex District, which — in addition to Ipswich — includes Topsfield, Hamilton, Wenham, Manchester and Rowley. He ran unopposed in 2010 and 2012 and last faced a challenger in 2008, when he beat Democrat Donald Bumiller of Boxford.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Hill, 46 , lives in Ipswich with his wife, Aimee, and their two teenage children, a son and daughter.

A former Ipswich selectman, he is enrolled in night courses at Salem State University, where he is pursuing a degree in political science and a minor in coaching and youth activities.

Looking back at his nearly 16 years in office, he mentioned a few bills he is most proud of, including Melissa’s Bill, which cracks down on habitual violent offenders by mandating they get the maximum penalty under the law and making them ineligible for parole after their third offense. It is named in memory of Melissa Gosule from Cape Cod, who was raped and killed by a repeat offender in 1999. Hill worked with her father, Les, to author the bill, he said. It became law in 2012.

Another success was enacting changes in the junior operator laws in the state, he said. He lobbied for stricter rules for beginning drivers for nearly three years, and they became an issue in his re-election campaign in 2004. Among other changes, drivers between 161/2 and 18 who are caught speeding a second time get a one-year license suspension, a $500 fine, plus $10 for each mile per hour in excess of 10 mph over the posted speed limit, a $50 surcharge, and a $500 fee to reinstate the license and reapply for a road test. Drivers education courses were also standardized statewide.

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