By Ethan Forman
---- — BEVERLY — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown drove his pickup by the family-owned Browns of Beverly Bicycles on Cabot Street to show his support for small businesses, while at the same time he tried to jam a bicycle pump in the spokes of the campaign of his Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren.
The Republican has no relation or connection to the owners, the Darrah family, but the low-key campaign stop highlighted Brown’s love of cycling. The only people on hand during the low-key stop were those who work in the shop and a family trying out a kid’s bike.
“It’s always good to see how our business owners are paying the bills,” Brown said, “how they are hiring, expanding and growing, and you can ask these people, the government didn’t do this for them, it was their dad who had an opportunity to buy the business from someone else ... That’s a big difference between professor (Elizabeth) Warren and me, she believes that government is responsible for a business like this, I’m not.”
About the same time yesterday afternoon as Brown was visiting Browns of Beverly, Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was scheduled to visit Warren’s campaign headquarters in Somerville.
Brown said he has been working in the Senate “to create that level of regulatory and tax certainty, making sure we can keep more money in people’s pocketbooks and wallets. It’s a stark difference between professor Warren and me. She wants to basically take more money out of people’s hard-earned paychecks, and I don’t.”
The new national health care bill, Brown said, adds 18 new taxes and cuts $500 billion from Medicare.
“It’s a jobs killer; she’s a jobs destroyer in that regard,” Brown said.
Brown touted his sponsorship of a federal “crowd-funding” law that would allow start-up companies to raise up to $1 million online from public investors, and the Hire a Hero Act, a law that provides businesses with incentives for hiring veterans.
“I’ve been working very, very hard to try and make it a climate so people actually have the money to come and buy a bike,” Brown said.
“Not only did he show up on time,” said Richard Darrah, one of the owners of the shop, which his father bought 65 years ago, “but he showed up early and he was very polite.”
Turns out, this was Brown’s first trip to Browns, but not to a bike shop. Brown said he rides nearly every day.
“I spend a lot of time in bike shops when I’m around and not working, obviously, and just seeing what the different brands are, what is the new technology,” Brown said.
George Darrah, a co-owner of the full-service shop, said his father, George Darrah Sr., bought the business in 1947, just after World War II. Also working at the shop is George Darrah’s wife, Jane, son, George, and daughter, Lauren.
“He is very good,” said George Darrah about meeting Brown. “He’s a very down-to-earth guy.”
Next weekend, Brown plans to make another cycling connection as he plans to take part in the Pan Massachusetts Challenge bike-a-thon, which raises money for cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.
“I am riding on behalf of Judge (Sam) Zoll,” Brown said of the former Salem mayor and former chief justice of the Massachusetts District Courts. Zoll died in April 2011 at age 76 from advanced gall bladder cancer. Brown was fond of Zoll because the judge, as the story goes, helped straighten him out when Brown came before him as a young man on an arrest for shoplifting. Zoll was also an avid rider and supporter of the Pan-Mass. Challenge.
“It’s a lot of fun, I’m actually riding with a group from Beverly,” Brown said.
Brown was joined at the campaign stop by fellow Republican and former state Senate Minority Leader Richard Tisei, who is challenging incumbent Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem, for the Sixth District seat in Congress. They planned to head to Richardson’ Ice Cream in Middleton for another campaign stop. Tisei also rides a bike, but he favors pedaling a mountain bike at Breakheart Reservation in Saugus rather than riding a road bike like Brown. Tisei said he has visited Browns in the past, and the shop has been supportive of him.
“This is the hot spot in Beverly,” Tisei said of the bike shop.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.