Tag Archives: Peabody State Rep race

If she found a new mentor, I might admit I’m wrong about Leah Cole as a State Rep

18 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Since lately, I’ve enjoyed the wrath from both loony right wingers, and well-meaning fiscally conservative friends, I felt it was time to maybe show my softer, more sensitive side, and admit something rare.

I might be wrong this time about it being impossible for Leah Cole — because she is an out-numbered Republican  — to develop into an effective State Rep for Peabody.

But … before you get too excited, understand that my proclamation comes with an asterisk.

You see, before I can be proven wrong, Ms. Cole needs to stop hanging out with the wrong element on Beacon Hill.

If Cole wants to succeed, Reps such as Brad Jones should be her mentor

If Cole wants to succeed, Reps such as Brad Jones should be her mentor

Cole needs to change mentors, and start learning a few things from Rep Brad Jones (R-North Reading). The House Minority Leader is an excellent example of how a Republican can get things done for his district at the State House, despite being out-gunned 5-to-1 by Democrats.

Knowing that he’s outnumbered like Custer at Little Big Horn, Jones wisely picks issues on which he knows he can get consensus with Democrats. It’s  how Jones and the other 20 other pragmatic Republicans in the Great and General Court get things done for their districts.

But right now,  since Leah Cole would rather follow those more interested in obstruction than bi-partisan solutions, there’s a problem.

Cole’s mentor is a right wing ideologue from Andover named Jim Lyons. Lyons, whose handed Cole a few juicy checks for her campaign war chest, is the King of Chuckleheads on Beacon Hill. If you’ve ever heard him on the radio show of hack newspaper columnist Howie Carr, you’d realize how out there on the fringe Lyons is when it comes to issues. Like Carr himself, I’m talking tinfoil hat crazy, and an always angry-at-the-world demeanor.

Instead .. Cole follows Rep Jim Lyons to the lunatic fringe

Instead .. Cole follows Rep Jim Lyons straight  to the lunatic fringe

Not only is Lyons an obstructionist, but earlier this year he marshaled his handful of extremist lunatic pals, and tried to oust Jones from the position of Minority Leader. Why? Well, they don’t like it that  Jones is willing to find consensus with Dems, and make government work for the people of the Commonwealth. Thankfully, there weren’t enough wing-nut votes to get the job done. By the way,  Jones got overwhelming support from the Republican caucus, which voted 21-0 to keep him as Minority Leader.

And guess what?  Knowing his coup was going to fail big. Lyons had his merry band of right wingers, including Ms. Cole,  not show up for the vote.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, and obviously Rep. Lyons isn’t, to realize that you need some support on the Democratic side of the aisle to get issues advanced, whether they’re policy or parochial,” said Jones, during a time when Lyons and his goons failed to oust him. “That’s just a mathematical reality, as much as I may not or he may not like it to be the case.”

Brad Jones is a Republican rep who gets it.

And if Leah Cole would only listen to the wise Rep from North Reading instead of a crackpot from Andover, even I might change my mind about her potential future effectiveness as Peabody’s State Rep.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Choice should be Joyce-like when it comes to the race for Peabody State Rep

16 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

It’s been almost two years since the passing of Joyce Spilliotis, and each year at this time I think about her when campaigns heat up. That’s because, in my opinion, the former State Rep and Peabody City Councilor was a model of what we should expect from all of our public servants.

We need a rep who went about the job just like the late, great Joyce Spillotis

We need a rep who went about the job just like the late, great Joyce Spillotis

A lot of what Joyce got for Peabody while on Beacon Hill was because she was a Democrat, who was in step with the major themes of those who ran her party. But first and foremost, she always strived to do what was right for Peabody, and the people she represented.

If that meant tangling with the Speaker, so be it. If it meant cutting a deal with members of her party, and even wooing some Republican votes to get what she needed for Peabody, she knew how to negotiate.

At the end of the day, she was certainly a Democrat, but it was always people over party.  It was always Peabody first.

People have asked me lately why I’ve been so rough in this space on our freshman Republican State Rep Leah Cole, and the first thing I usually say is that it’s definitely not personal. Although I’ve met Leah only a couple of times, I think she’s a nice person. I also think it’s admirable when people in her age group get involved in community service, and that we need more 25-year olds running for office, especially when it comes to Library Trustee, school committee, and city council.

But I don’t think her being part of the minority party on Beacon Hill, and her lack of business, leadership and life experience are good qualities for Peabody’s State Rep. to have.

There’s something else, though, and this is where I think about the job done by Joyce.

Many times, I get the impression that Leah Cole is on Beacon Hill to be more of a foothold for the dysfunctional Mass GOP, than she is there to represent the residents of Peabody. I cite her rhetoric during the special election, during which she managed to get about 6% of the district’s roughly 28K voters to fill in the oval next to her name.

During that campaign, and while defending the acceptance of donations from outside of Peabody, she sometimes talked about how State Reps don’t just represent their districts, but also make decisions for the entire state. I don’t think I ever heard Joyce Spilliotis worry about anything other than the people who needed here most back her in Peabody.

“I believe her platform will be different. I am interested in hearing what she has to say. … So much of her support comes from outside of Peabody; I would like to know what exactly she intends to do for the citizens (of Peabody),” Beverley Griffin Dunne, Cole’s Democratic opponent on Nov. 4th ,told the Salem News yesterday.

And Beverley is right. While Joyce Spilliotis was all about Peabody and constituent services, Leah Cole seems more interested in pushing forward with the state Republican Party’s agenda, and wooing support from OUTSIDE of Peabody. She’s worked on a number of fiscally responsible tax issues, which I feel most Peabody people would agree with, but it’s all been rhetoric rather than action, since Republicans on Beacon Hill have very little influence.

Money is not only the “mother’s milk of politics,” it’s also the major thing that ends up influencing the decisions of most elected officials.  This is why my eyebrows are raised when I see that a majority of the money in Cole’s war chest coming from non-Peabody people.

When Cole talks about more responsible tax policies and not bilking the middle class, most of us stand up and cheer. But then we peel the onion, and see that she received $22K in in-kind contributions from the uber right-wing Marlborough Republican City Committee, which is in lock-step with the far right nationally when it comes to social issues. Heck, we all want lower taxes, but I believe that the majority of Mass. voters are live and let live when it comes to same-sex marriage. I also believe that, while most people are not pro-abortion, they certainly aren’t – like most Republicans – against a woman’s right to choose.

This is indeed going to be one of the more interesting Peabody State Rep races in recent memory. All I suggest is that people peel the onion, and ask themselves the following before making a decision:

Which of these two candidates is more like Joyce?

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Dunne and the Dems need to avoid over-confidence in state rep race against Cole

10 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

I’ve heard it already a few times today. Less than 24 hours after Beverley Griffin Dunne’s convincing victory over Jim Moutsoulas in the Democratic primary for Peabody State Rep, people are saying that Republican incumbent Leah Cole will be trounced by the Peabody School Committeewoman on Nov. 4th.

And all day … I’ve been telling them they’re taking Cole way too lightly.

Leah Cole ... working toward the fringe?

Leah Cole

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Make no mistake, if she runs the right campaign, and is able to raise some money, I feel that Dunne will be our next State Rep from the 12th Essex District.  I also feel that Dunne would be a far more effective state rep than Cole, who as a member of the minority party on Beacon Hill,  has no shot to bring Peabody anything more than a scrap of the bacon.

For the simple reason that Democrats overwhelmingly dominate the Massachusetts Great and General Court, Peabody needs a Democrat in that seat.

But while I don’t think Cole, or any Republican for that matter, can help Peabody get what it needs when it comes to local aid, I also think that people are way underestimating the incumbent’s strength as a candidate.

People who underestimate a Republican’s ability to win in Peabody are either misinformed, or still living in 1972.

Peabody is no longer a city dominated by Democrats. That’s not just me talking. That’s science. Although Dems still outnumber Republicans almost 4-to-1 in our fair burg, those without any party affiliation outnumber Democrats almost 2-to-1.

These voters, designated as the “unenrolled,” have the most impact on all of our elections, and are the reason why Republicans Scott Brown (twice), Charlie Baker, and Richard Tisei have carried the vote in Peabody in recent elections.

It’s also one of the reasons why Cole won in the first place. Oh sure, Cole was definitely aided in that special election 18 months ago when Dunne and Dem-turned-independent Dave Gravel split the vote. But mainly conservative, ticked off unenrolled voters put Cole over the top. I know this first hand after my door-to-door campaigning last fall for Ward 5 Councilor. With many unenrolled voters I visited, it was sometimes snarls once they learned that I was a Democrat.

But the great conservative unenrolled vote is not the only challenge faced by Dunne.

Ms. Cole is not just some candidate from South Peabody. She is a young trophy piece for the Massachusetts Republican Party in what is a sea of blue on Beacon Hill. With the exception of Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei, Cole will get more Mass GOP attention when it comes to money and strategy than any other Republican candidate this cycle. She already has a 4-to-1 advantage over Dunne when it comes to cash in her war chest.

She’ll have plenty of dry powder to launch mail campaign salvos at Dunne, painting the Democrat as a dreaded “liberal,” while painting herself as a state rep with a record of fighting to keep your taxes in check. Even though Ms. Cole has no power on Beacon Hill to keep salons from raising your taxes, and even though Dunne is a moderate on many issues, Cole’s anti-tax message will sound good to those reading the brochure.

This will not be a cake walk for Beverly Griffin Dunne. If the Democrats take Cole lightly, their candidate might go down in flames. It’s something that everyone who wants to see that seat turn blue again needs to understand, and believe.

Get ready, because like the Congressional race, this one is also going to be a battle to remember.

Follow Bob on Twitter @eyeonpeabody

Poll: Who will you vote for in Peabody State Rep Democratic primary?

4 Sep

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

James Moutsoulas

James Moutsolas

Beverley Griffin Dunne

Beverley Griffin Dunne

With less than a week to go before the Sept.9th state primary, let’s see where The Eye audience stands when it comes to the most-important local race on the Democratic side.

Who do you prefer to be the Democratic nominee for State Rep in the 12th Essex District: Beverley Griffin Dunne or James Moutsoulas?

Please be honest, though, and ONLY take our poll if you are eligible to vote on the Democratic side on Tuesday, and you live in the 12th Essex District (Peabody Wards 1-4; Ward 5, precincts 1 and 3 only). Only vote in our poll if you are either a registered Democrat or an unenrolled voter who plans to take a Democratic ballot.

I would appreciate your honesty here so we can get some indication on where our growing audience is trending.

I’ve set this up so you can only vote once.

Too bad Ward 3 residents, who voted for Moutsoulas, can’t ask for their votes back

10 Apr

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

If I were a Ward 3 resident who voted to elect Jim “Demo” Moutsoulas Ward 3 Councilor last fall, I’d be knocking on City Clerk Tim Spanos’ office door this morning to ask him … “where do I go to get my vote back?”

Why?

Jim Moutsoulos ... running on empty.

Moutsoulas: running on empty.

Well, apparently Demo doesn’t really want the job he’s held for just four months. Word is out that the current Ward 3 Councilor, who some refer to as the “bad penny of Peabody politics,” is planning to announce next week that he’s running for State Rep.

Then again, maybe this is just Demo being Demo. We’ve seen this from him in the past, so perhaps, we’ll hold fire – a little at least – until he ACTUALLY brings back his nomination papers. After all, this guy has a habit of pulling papers for an office, and then finding some bizarre reason in the end NOT to run.

But if he is serious this time, clearly this is a slap in the face of those who supported him in his Ward 3 run against Bill Toomey and Tom Serino last November.

What is Demo saying here?

He never really wanted the job to begin with?

It’s like accepting a new job in January, and then telling your boss in April that you were giving your two-week’s notice. Some commitment, eh?

Or, is Demo hoping to “double-dip” here?  That is, hold both the state rep and his Ward 3 seat so he can someday collect TWO taxpayer-funded pensions?

I mean, it’s not like the state rep seat just opened up this time, like it did with the untimely passing of Joyce Spilliotis, which promoted a special election a year ago. This time, it’s a regular cycle election, which all of the candidates for office knew when they pulled papers to run in the city election.

If Moutsoulas gets into the state rep race, he’ll join Democratic challenger Beverley Dunne and Republican incumbent Leah Cole in a three-candidate field.

And if Demo is in, would he run as a Democrat?

Who knows? He’s capable of anything.

Maybe he should be the candidate of the “Rent’s Too Damn High Party.” Or, better still, the “Mickey Mouse Party.”

Is Leah Cole following the Mass GOP toward the lunatic fringe?

26 Feb

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Leah Cole ... working toward the fringe?

Leah Cole … working toward the fringe?

At the end of the day, and even though I personally view “marriage” as something that government should leave only to religious institutions, I don’t get why some politicians continue their fight against same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. After all, since becoming law in 2004, God hasn’t sentenced the residents of the Commonwealth to eternal damnation. Nothing bad has happened, and the Red Sox have even won three World Championships.

People who are devout when it comes to their personal religious beliefs have a right to be against gay marriage, and we should respect their beliefs.  But it’s also time for us to all admit that, after almost 10 years, same-sex marriage has become one of those big whoopty-do type of things. Most people don’t really care either way, and want their elected officials to focus on REAL issues such as the economy, schools, and improving our crumbling infrastructure.

It’s time for our politicians  to finally realize that the war is over on the issue of same-sex marriage, and that it’s time to move on.

That’s why it was so puzzling to see that the Mass State Republican Party has submitted a 2014 party platform with the following language in it’s “values” section:

“We believe the institution of traditional marriage strengthens our society. There should be no infringement on the rights of the people of Massachusetts to vote on ballot initiatives..”

Sounds to me like the Mass GOP is encouraging crazy people to attempt to put a referendum on the ballot that will seek to ban gay marriage. And what’s most bizarre here is that Peabody State Rep Leah Cole, who is up for re-election this fall, appears to be an ardent supporter of this plank in her party’s platform. That’s right, Ms. Cole’s own  legislative aid is on the Mass GOP platform committee, and voted for this anti-same-sex marriage language.

So what’s up with this? Has the Mass GOP decided to cozy up to lunatic right wing Republicans elsewhere?  And if so, how do socially liberal-to-moderate Republicans such as Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei feel about their party’s new platform? Tisei is openly gay, and supports same-sex marriage. Wonder how he feels about this platform language?

I haven’t talked to her, but certainly the actions of Ms. Cole’s aid speak volumes here, since he does work for her. I never really viewed her as a far right crazy, and really like her opposition of the big pig tax policies of the Patrick Administration.

But if Cole is going to start working stances on social issues into her playbook, good luck to her getting re-elected in the 12th Essex. Peabody is most definitely a fiscally conservative community, and it’s a big reason for Leah Cole’s success in last spring’s special election. It’s also the reason why, in the past 5 years, Scott Brown, Baker, and Tisei have also won here. But while we Peabodyites like to protect our hard-earned money, we also have a phrase for politicians who adopt far right stances on social issues:

Welcome to the lunatic fringe, Ms. Cole.

Dunne’s in, are Cole and Gould out when it comes to Peabody State Rep race?

20 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

We know Beverley Dunne is in, but who will join her in the race for State Rep?

We know Beverley Dunne is in, but who will join her in the race for State Rep?

I thought we’d have some Peabody political insider fun this afternoon, and talk about what the Eye is uncovering in what could become another very interesting race for the State Rep seat in the 12th Essex District (Peabody Wards 1-4, Ward 5 Prec. 1 & 3).

Less than a year after Republican Leah Cole’s stunning special election upset win over Democrat Beverley Dunne and unenrolled candidate Dave Gravel, candidate names are being floated as the seat gets contested again this November.

Dunne has told several people that she’s going for it again on the Democrat side, and we’ve heard speculation that Ward 1 Councilor Barry Osborne is contemplating a run as an unenrolled candidate.

But here’s what else The Eye is learning …

Incumbent Cole is leaning away from running for re-election to focus on her nursing career, and another source tells us Councilor at-large Tom Gould is leaning against running too. Gould considered running last year for the open seat after Joyce Spilliotis passed away, but then decided against it to focus on his business.

The Cole thing could change quickly, though, once the Mass GOP gets wind of it and starts doing whatever it can to convince its Golden Girl to run again, including a promise to help her build a campaign war chest north of $100K.

It all does make you wonder, though, if the Peabody Democratic City Committee is going to step up this time and support the Democratic candidate. Osborne is really a Democrat, and so too was Gravel last time. But the party insiders were divided, and with Dunne and Gravel splitting the vote, it made things much easier for Ms. Cole to pull off the upset.

Let me know in the comments section what you think will happen here.

‘Make The Call’ show invites State Rep primary candidates to address voters

6 Mar

By Eye On Peabody

Please join your hosts Dick Jarvis and Bob Croce tonight, 8-9 p.m., on PAT Channel 99 when they invite the candidates from yesterday’s primaries for Peabody  State Rep. on the “You Make the Call” show.

Dick and Bob have invited Democratic Primary winner Beverley Griffin Dunne, Republican Primary winner Leah Cole, and Republican Primary runner up Greg Bunn to come on and address the voters of Peabody about yesterday’s results.

On our next show, we will invite back Dunne and Cole, as well as unenrolled candidate David Gravel in advance of the final election on April 2nd.

For now, though, please tune in and ask questions of the candidates. Each will be individually given 10-15 minutes to address the voters and answer questions from our co-hosts and the callers.

In their own words: Hear from the candidates for state rep before you vote

5 Mar

By Eye on Peabody

If you haven’t yet voted in today’s Primary for the Special Election for Peabody State Rep in the 12th Essex District,  and are still undecided, check out these videos in the Peabody Patch. They are from a recent appearance by each candidate at the Brooksby Village candidates forum.

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