PEABODY — An entrepreneur and commander of the Civil Air Patrol at Beverly Airport has high hopes of unseating an entrenched state representative on Beacon Hill.
Republican Tom Lyons, 51, of West Peabody announced yesterday in a press release he plans to run for the 13th Essex District seat held by Democratic state Rep. Ted Speliotis since 1997.
Lyons plans to formally announce his candidacy Feb. 13 at Supino’s Restaurant on Route 1 in Danvers at 7 p.m.
Lyons was raised in Danvers and graduated from Danvers High in 1981. He and his wife, Carolyne, live in West Peabody with their son. The family is active in the community, the press release says.
“I am not a fan of Ted’s politics anymore,” Lyons said in a brief interview yesterday. “I’ve seen too many of these tax increases he has brought forward in the last year or so. I’m disgusted by them.”
Lyons is a licensed master plumber, construction supervisor and oil-burner technician, according to the press release. He started his own plumbing company at 19 and took over the family-owned business, C.K. Lyons Plumbing and Heating Co., in 1986. He retired from plumbing in 2003 and works as an inside sales representative at Peabody Supply Co.
“It’s basically to run against the waste, fraud and abuse in the state,” Lyons said. “I’ve seen too much of that. If the state auditor can find $25 million in waste, that’s $25 million that can be used for other things in the state. The representatives on Beacon Hill are just not representing the working men and women of the district anymore.”
In 1977, Lyons joined the Civil Air Patrol. He holds the rank of lieutenant colonel and serves as commander of the Beverly Composite Squadron.
“Under his leadership, the squadron has trained over 200 cadets in leadership and aerospace education,” says the press release. Lyons said these cadets come from all over the North Shore. He received his pilot’s license in 2001 and flies as a volunteer crew member on search and rescue missions.
“I’ve been involved a long time,” Lyons said of the Civil Air Patrol. “You are talking heavy-duty community service and being commander; it’s a 24-7 job.”
Speliotis also has ties to Peabody. He grew up in Peabody and later moved to Danvers as a child, graduating from Danvers High in 1971. He served as the state representative in the 12th Essex District from 1979 to 1986 before losing in a close Democratic primary election to Peabody City Councilor Tom Walsh.
Later, Speliotis ran for Danvers town moderator and worked at Northeastern University in government affairs. With redistricting, he wound up in the 13th Essex District, and he ran for and won a seat vacated by former state Rep. Sally Kerans. Speliotis serves as chairman of the House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading.
In the past two elections, Speliotis beat back challenges from Danvers Selectman Dan Bennett, a Republican. In 2010, Speliotis beat Bennett by fewer than 500 votes.
“I think the people in the district, if you talk to them, they are fed up with all the tax increases and all the back-door politics that go on,” Lyons said. “We need better representation on Beacon Hill.”
The 13th Essex District includes Danvers, West Peabody and Precinct 2 in Middleton.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.