It is a rare thing these days to see a contested state representative race. On the North Shore, only one representative, Ted Speliotis of Danvers, saw opposition last fall, and he won re-election handily.
So we are encouraged to see a full slate of candidates vying for the chance to represent the citizens of Peabody’s 12th Essex District, which includes Wards 1 through 4 and part of Ward 5. This Tuesday, April 2, voters will choose between Republican Leah Cole, unenrolled candidate David Gravel and Democrat Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne.
Griffin Dunne, 55, a School Committee member, has a long record of service to the citizens of Peabody and has promised to carry on the tradition of constituent service championed by the late Joyce Spiliotis, whose death last year necessitated next week’s special election. Cole, a 24-year-old nurse, has acquitted herself well in her first run for public office, offering a consistently conservative alternative to her opponents.
For the residents of Peabody, however, Gravel is the clear choice.
The 56-year-old Gravel, a current city councilor and former School Committee member, has the necessary blend of both public and private sector experience to advance the city’s interests on Beacon Hill and form an effective partnership with the administration of first-term Mayor Ted Bettencourt.
Just over the line in Salem, state Rep. John Keenan and Mayor Kim Driscoll have worked together, with others, to land several projects for their city, including a new courthouse, a new train station and an expanded Salem State University. Those initiatives are revitalizing Salem, and there’s no reason similar teamwork can’t pay dividends for Peabody.
Gravel has been a strong supporter of efforts to improve downtown Peabody, where his business, GraVoc, is located, and knows firsthand the importance of fixing, or at least mitigating, the city’s chronic flooding problems. He was also instrumental in getting the new YMCA on Lynnfield Street built.