PEABODY — Some thought School Committee member Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne had the inside track, but in the race to fill the state representative seat of the late Joyce Spiliotis, the endorsement of the Massachusetts Teachers Association goes to City Councilor Dave Gravel.
“This was a big one for me,” he said. “This is a big-sized group. ... I was a little surprised but pleased. I was glad they looked at my background and experience.”
Is there a downsize to union backing? Gravel says no, pointing out that while he welcomes their support, he’s never gotten money from a union and doesn’t expect any this time.
“If people want to campaign for me, that’s fine,” he added. “But I have a lot of people doing that.”
Gravel will be on the ballot for the April 2 special election as unenrolled (he says he will caucus with the Democrats). While a primary was scheduled for the Democrats, Griffin Dunne is the only candidate on that ballot. For the GOP primary, Greg Bunn faces off on March 5 against Leah Cole with the winner to join a three-way contest for the final.
“Endorsements are very nice,” Griffin Dunne responded as she walked the neighborhoods this week. “But votes are important.” She pointed out that there are multiple unions, including the American Federation of Teachers, which represents some Peabody educators, yet to be heard from.
One key endorsement Griffin Dunne does have is from Dick Jarvis, Spiliotis’ husband. Asked recently why he didn’t run himself, Jarvis replied, “Because Beverley did.”
Is everybody happy?
Well, not so much in the Middle Kingdom apparently. A group of Chinese exchange students just completed a visit to Peabody High School. Junior Austin Solimine described the interchange at this week’s School Committee meeting, remembering when a conversation with a Chinese student left him thinking, “We are a lot happier in our school than they are in theirs.”