DANVERS — The usually sedate North Shore Chamber of Commerce annual dinner received a jolt last night in the form of a protest outside the CoCo Key Hotel, where U.S. Sen. Scott Brown spoke last night.
About 40 teachers, firefighters, activists and unemployed people staged a small protest across the road from the hotel's grounds, rallying in the cold against the Republican junior senator's vote last week to block the $35 billion Teachers and First Responders Back to Work bill in the U.S. Senate.
Police from Danvers and Middleton kept the half-hour, boisterous but peaceful protest away from the hotel, containing it off the former Sheraton Ferncroft's grounds on the opposite side of Village Drive from the hotel's main entrance. There was also a heavy police presence inside the hotel during the gathering.
At least two women in the protest were identified as Peabody teachers, but they declined to speak with a Salem News reporter.
"Scott Brown, green jobs now," they chanted. They held signs that said "Scott Brown: Stop Voting Against Jobs!"
"Scott Brown went to Washington, D.C., promising to represent ordinary people," said Ted Chambers, a teacher at Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, "and he has been straight down the line on Republican votes on the side of big bankers, hedge fund managers and multi-, multi-billionaires."
"Just because he drives a pickup truck, doesn't mean he understands people like us," Lynn firefighter Matthew Reddy said.
Reddy was referring to the signature ad of Brown's campaign last year that featured him driving a pickup truck across the state, racking up miles and stumping for votes.
Inside the ballroom where the dinner was held, the former state senator from Wrentham worked the room for more than an hour, greeting many of the 525 attendees of the chamber's 93rd annual dinner who turned out to see him.