PEABODY — Just in case Beacon Hill needs the help, Greg Bunn hopes to bring a master’s degree in psychology with him should he win the special election to be Peabody’s next state representative.
Bunn, 41, is a candidate in the March 5 Republican primary. The winner will face two candidates in the final election on April 2, including Democrat Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne and David Gravel, who is unenrolled.
A licensed clinician who started his career in the state Department of Mental Health, Bunn later moved on to an administrative position with the Department of Workforce Development, overseeing programs aimed at helping the unemployed find jobs.
“I always find that people do much better when they have a job,” he said.
Even so, some might find his background unusual for a Republican, given the party’s belief in smaller government.
“I get that a lot,” he said. “I feel as a Republican I have a responsibility to the taxpayers to make sure our resources are going to the folks who need them. ... The taxpayers have limited resources.”
Growing up in a mostly nonpolitical home, it was working for the government that piqued Bunn’s interest in politics.
“If you strip everything down, politics is deciding who gets what,” he said. “I’ve seen how government can be much better. That’s what inspired me to run.”
He’s already seen two major campaigns close up, working for Charlie Baker in his run for governor in 2010 and Richard Tisei in his effort to unseat Congressman John Tierney in 2012. Neither campaign was successful.
In his own campaign, Bunn is highlighting his background in helping people find employment.
“My top priority is finding jobs for folks,” he said. It’s something he could accomplish even before taking office, he said, indicating that promoting business is one way.
Pointing to Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s creation of a new business liaison position, Bunn said, “That person is going to be my best friend.”
Thus far, Bunn said he’s raised more than $5,000. In addition, he’s getting help, including from Baker, a Swampscott native.
Born in Ohio, Bunn moved to Hamilton at age 4. He graduated from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School and lived for a time in Beverly before moving to Peabody and his own home on Trask Road.
Bunn, who is single, said, “I do have a wonderful girlfriend. ... I’m very picky. I hadn’t found the right one to marry, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be a problem much longer.”
Address: Trask Road
Education: Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School; bachelor’s and master’s in psychology, Salem State; master’s in public administration, Suffolk University.
Employment: Operations manager, North Shore Career Center (state Department of Workforce Development)