SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 14, 2012

Lots of buzz around Peabody rep seat

Lots of speculation in Peabody regarding a possible successor for the late state Rep. Joyce Spiliotis.

The word around the square is that popular City Councilor Tom Gould (who also happens to be Danvers state Rep. Ted Speliotis’ brother-in-law) isn’t interested at this time. Given his strong showing in the last council election, he would have been a heavy favorite.

That leaves the door open for any number of others who might want to make the daily trek to the Statehouse. Among those most frequently mentioned are School Committeewoman Beverley Griffin-Dunne and Councilors David Gravel and Anne Manning-Martin, who ran unsuccessfully against Spiliotis in 2002.

Some are promoting Griffin-Dunne as “Joyce’s choice,” and she enjoys a long and close relationship with Mayor Ted Bettencourt. It will be interesting to see whether the mayor can stay out of this race, as he did the battle to replace retiring state Sen. Fred Berry.

Given that the Legislature will not even discuss dates for a special election until after the holidays, there’s still plenty of time for someone other than the usual suspects to consider a run for the seat. Tom Walsh, who served in the House years ago, would make a great candidate, but our understanding is that his first foray back into the world of politics might involve a run for councilor-at-large in the fall.

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Now that Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll has made her interest in a third term official, it will be very interesting to see whether any of her council critics, like Ward 2’s Mike Sosnowski, have the gumption to take her on at the ballot box.

(Speaking of Sosnowski, one has to wonder whether his refusal to consider out-of-towners for any municipal position would apply should he become chief executive. It would make for an extremely shallow talent pool in some cases.)

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