This is the third of four profiles of the Democratic candidates for state Senate in the 2nd Essex District. The nominee will be elected in the Democratic primary on Thursday, Sept. 6.
SALEM — Plenty of elected officials are louder than Salem City Councilor Joan Lovely, but it would be hard to find one who works harder.
Less than 10 years ago, Lovely, a 54-year-old mother of three, didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. She is now a lawyer, arguably the most popular city councilor in Salem and a candidate for state senator.
“It’s just who I am; it’s my makeup. I do everything 100 percent,” Lovely said in an interview. “Every year in Salem before I put my name on the ballot, I ask myself if I am ready to commit to another two years. If I can’t commit myself to that level, I don’t do it.”
Now Lovely is trying to commit herself to a whole lot more. She is one of four Democratic candidates vying to take over for Sen. Fred Berry, who will retire at the end of the year after 30 years representing the 2nd Essex District on Beacon Hill. Lovely said she’s up for the challenge.
“Fifteen years on the City Council has really prepared me to go to the next level,” she said.
During that time, Lovely has forged a reputation as a relentless worker who listens to constituents and shows up for nearly every meeting — large or small — that happens in Salem.
She’s campaigning with the same gusto.
Since the beginning of the race, she has walked 500 miles and knocked on 7,000 doors, according to the pedometer she wears on her hip.
“She’s not going to be outworked by the other candidates,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who served with Lovely on the council.