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April 29, 2013

Dan Bennett enjoys his work as selectman

This is the first of three profiles of the candidates for Danvers selectman. Voters will elect two selectmen to serve three-year terms. The election is May 7.

DANVERS — Selectman Dan Bennett is straightforward about his reason for seeking a third term on the Board of Selectmen.

He enjoys the work, he said.

A couple of weeks ago, he attended a Planning Board hearing on a proposed moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries. Bennett had suggested the moratorium to give the town time to figure out how to zone these facilities.

Two days later, he was at a presentation about the proposed casino at Suffolk Downs. It’s an issue that’s attracted more attention recently, in light of a Maryland casino developer’s interest in perhaps opening a slots parlor at the Liberty Tree Mall. Later that day, he planned to tour the ongoing Danvers High School renovation project.

He plans to ask the board to write a letter to state authorities about how a Suffolk Downs resort casino might affect Route 1 traffic and interfere with residents’ ability to get to Logan Airport. He said there are projections that a Suffolk Downs casino might double traffic heading to the area.

“There is still work to do as a selectman,” Bennett said, “between casino gambling, traffic mitigation from a project like that, the moratorium on medical marijuana. We are going to ask for an 18-month moratorium to allow the town to develop some zoning.”

Bennett, 64, has always had an interest in politics and civic affairs.

A former chairman of the Republican Town Committee, he has been active in town since first running for Town Meeting in 1993. He served one term on the School Committee and ran for re-election in 2000 but lost amid controversy over a bid to override Proposition 21/2 to pay for a new middle school and high school.

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