By Alan Burke
---- — PEABODY — Born in Greece, Jim “Demo” Moutsoulas has lived in Peabody since age 2. “I’m a Peabody guy,” he said. “I spent my whole life here.”
A graduate of Peabody High, Moutsoulas, 68, took some classes at Salem State and then started a painting company with his brother. He’s also worked as a barber — he still cuts hair at a shop on Tremont Street — and formed a temp agency from which he retired five years ago. “I put a lot of people to work,” he said. He also served six years in the National Guard.
Moutsoulas was the Ward 3 councilor for 12 years, from 1985 to 1997, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1997. He made the decision to run again this year after sitting councilor Rico Mello decided to retire.
“Up until a couple of months ago I had no intention of running,” he said. Health problems deterred him — “I had a stent put in my heart” — but his doctor argued, “It’s the best thing you can do.”
As a councilor, Moutsoulas said he fought to keep fire stations open and prevented an apartment complex from locating where the Howley Street Stop & Shop now stands. Looking ahead, he hailed the purchase of the downtown O’Shea building.
“These are the kind of changes I think will improve the downtown,” he said. He also praised the newly configured traffic pattern.
“I’m willing to work with the mayor,” he added.