, Salem, MA


January 18, 2013

An era of stability



Friends of Middleton attorney Marisa DeFranco, who stood tall in refusing to concede the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination to Elizabeth Warren last year, have launched a petition drive urging Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint her to John Kerry’s seat on an interim basis after Kerry becomes secretary of state.


One can’t blame Patrick for wanting to reform the way state-funded local housing authorities operate, given recent revelations about excessive spending on the part of some communities. But there’s no guarantee a regional authority would be less subject to manipulation by a clever and strong-willed manager than are the local boards.


The recent passing of Lynn’s Tommy McGee brought to mind the era several decades ago when the North Shore ruled the Statehouse with McGee holding the House speakership and Salem’s Kevin Harrington presiding over the Senate. Nor did it hurt having Lynn’s Walter Boverini and Peabody’s Jack Murphy in top leadership positions in the Senate and House, respectively.

Legend has it that such was this region’s influence, that a hockey arena meant for the UMass Amherst campus ended up going to the state college in Salem instead. It may be many more decades before the communities north of Boston wield that kind of clout again.


This columnist stands corrected: Salem City Councilor Kevin Carr has made no “announcement” regarding whether he will or won’t stand for re-election this fall. Indeed, in a telephone interview, Carr said he has since received many calls urging him to seek another term and, despite family and career obligations, he is “leaning in that direction.”

An affirmative decision would be to Salem’s benefit.


Nelson Benton spent 40 years covering politics on the North Shore before retiring from The Salem News. Contact him at

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