, Salem, MA

Local News

May 2, 2013

New rep sworn in

Leah Cole 'shows a lot of passion' for Peabody


It was only because she was chosen in a special election that Cole was invited to make brief remarks to her colleagues, who filled less than half of the seats in the historic hall. Also sworn in at the event was Everett Rep. Wayne Matewski, who spoke of his election, which involved a recount.

Meanwhile, victory for the 24-year-old Cole, who had never run for office before, came as the Democratic candidate, Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne, and the unenrolled candidate, a former Democrat, David Gravel, split a majority of votes between them.

Thanking her supporters, Cole recalled, “When it was cold and snowing and after putting in long hours at work, they kept me motivated to go out door-knocking no matter how bad it got.”

Those hours at work, Cole noted after the ceremony, will continue as she will remain employed on a per diem basis as a licensed practical nurse in Danvers. But she stressed that her first priority is to set up her office in order to provide constituent services.

“I’m just very excited, and I can’t wait,” she said. “My main focus is making sure I’m available for my constituents.”

In that effort, Cole has taken as chief of staff her former campaign manager, Ryan Chamberland of Blackstone, who retains his own position as a selectman in that Worcester County town. Previously, she had expressed an interest in finding a Peabody resident for the job, but Chamberland’s experience and success in the campaign recommended him.

“When she offered the job, I said ‘absolutely,’” he explained as Cole posed for pictures in the Statehouse lobby. “I interned up here, so I know my way around.”

Cole’s victory came with a remarkable level of support from outside Peabody. For example, the Marlborough Republican City Committee paid Chamberland’s salary as campaign manager.

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