, Salem, MA

Local News

October 22, 2013

Upbringing spurred Cahill to public service


Two years ago, he topped Scanlon in the mayoral preliminary, then fell just 353 votes behind in the final election.

Cahill said he didn’t know for sure at that time if he would run again. But when Scanlon announced his retirement in April, Cahill said, “I knew.”

From teacher to Beacon Hill

With his polished delivery and extensive campaign experience, Cahill might seem like a born politician. But when he was a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont, his career counselor sat him down and told him, “You want to be a teacher.”

“He was right,” Cahill said.

Cahill spent 10 years as a teacher in the Beverly and Ipswich public schools and at Landmark School in Beverly. He also coached soccer and basketball, including a successful stint as the boys soccer coach at Beverly High, where he had played soccer and hockey.

“There was a point where I thought that was going to be my career path,” he said of teaching and coaching. “I absolutely loved it.”

Cahill said he started contemplating a political career in order to have more of an impact on issues that concerned him, such as education and the environment.

In his campaign literature, Cahill said he brought home “tens of millions of dollars” for Beverly during his time on Beacon Hill to renovate the city’s elementary schools, protect open space, and pay for special education costs and road repairs.

Carol Cleven, a former Republican state representative from Chelmsford who served on two committees with Cahill, described him as a dedicated state representative who was “very committed to the tasks of his particular committee.”

“Some people look at the surface of things and just go along with it,” Cleven said. “He delved into things a lot more than some people do. He had a wonderful personality. He was able to bring people around to compromises. He just plugged away and made sure they were done.”

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