This is the first of four profiles of the Democratic candidates for state Senate in the 2nd Essex District. The nominee will be elected in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 6.
SALEM — Edward Carroll doesn’t mince words. Either you like his platform, his ideas, his blunt way of speaking, or you don’t — the 72-year-old retiree from Salem isn’t about to change.
“I’m just an old guy,” he said with a smile, “but I have a lot to say.”
Carroll is running against three fellow Democrats to replace Sen. Fred Berry, who has represented the 2nd Essex District on Beacon Hill for the past 30 years.
Unlike his more politically polished opponents — all of whom are lawyers and tout their experience in office — Carroll seems to hold his lack of political qualifications up like a badge of honor. He doesn’t have any education beyond high school (St. Mary’s Boys High School in Lynn); he has more than once responded with a blank stare when asked to weigh in on specific policy proposals or programs, and he brags that he’s not fundraising or accepting any endorsements.
Asked if he views himself as conservative or progressive when it comes to fiscal or social issues, he balked.
“I don’t know what any of those terms mean,” he said. “I can’t really define myself. If it’s wrong, I’ll go after it.”
Carroll is, in essence, running as the anti-politician, an outsider with big ideas, common sense and a personality to get things done.
“I’m just an ordinary guy like them,” he said of voters. “I want to see the district flourish, and I have the leadership skills based on all my work experience and the courage to get us through.”
School of hard knocks