, Salem, MA

Local News

January 21, 2014

Peabody rep surprised by help from both sides of aisle


“I just don’t think that’s right,” she said.

Cole’s election came partly out of a fortuitous alignment of the political planets. Last spring, a Democratic candidate and an independent split the majority of the votes in an election that drew fewer than 6,000 voters. That allowed Cole, a political newcomer who was virtually unknown in the city, to take the election with fewer than 1,900 votes. Additionally, she relied on strong support from GOP activists from outside of Peabody, particularly from U.S. Sen. Ron Paul’s Libertarian wing. Thus far, she has collected a war chest of $5,000 for next November.

With twice-monthly office hours at Brooksby Village and City Hall, Cole believes she is establishing a local reputation for constituent services. One-on-one meetings are arranged for those who miss the regular sessions.

“I don’t want them to think they’re not being heard,” she said.

For that matter, Cole believes Peabody residents from all parties are ready for her message. “It’s a city of hard-working Democrats. ... They just want to see an efficient government,” she said.

She said she’s worked well with Mayor Ted Bettencourt and is supporting his effort to gain 10 additional liquor licenses in order to attract restaurants to the downtown.

“I talk to him a couple of times a month,” she said.

She has critics. Former Democratic City Committee chairman Mike Schulze said, “We’ve seen her here at a few functions, but I didn’t see her at the mayor’s inaugural.” (Cole said she was on vacation.) Schulze acknowledged her support for the mayor’s agenda, but added, “She wasn’t alone in that.”

And he decries her outside supporters, suggesting they support extreme positions on issues like guns.

“She’s representing Westboro Republicans,” he said.

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