Just to update an earlier story here, Governor Deval Patrick has rejected Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s request to temporarily fill the 12th Essex State Rep seat left vacant following the death of Joyce Spilliotis, citing that there is no current law that allows for this.
It may be an unwinnable situation and a little too late, but it’s good to see that Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt is petitioning Governor Deval Patrick for the right to appoint an interim replacement for deceased State Representative Joyce Spilliotis.
The Mayor wants to ensure that, until a new rep is seated following the April 2nd special election, Peabody has its fair share of representation on Beacon Hill. The problem is that there is no precedent or law giving a mayor such powers to appoint, and it might end up taking an executive order from Patrick to allow this.
Bettencourt appointing an interim rep presents another potential sticky situation: Although Mayor of Peabody, he doesn’t even live in the open seat’s 12th Essex House District. A Ward 6 resident, Bettencourt is represented on Beacon Hill by Ted Spelliotis.
The Mayor says he would only appoint as the interim someone who is not running in the special election. So far, Democrats Beverley Dunne and James Moutsoulas, unenrolled candidate David Gravel, and Republicans Greg Bunn and Leah Cole have pulled nomination papers to run for the right to complete the final 19 months of Spilliotis’ term. The deadline for returning their petitions with at least 150 qualified signatures is Tuesday, Jan. 22. The 12thEssex seat represents Peabody Wards 1-4, and precincts 1 and 3 in Ward 5.
Let me know what you think in the comments section, and be sure to take our poll.
Been hoping for some new candidates?
Well, it looks like you’ll get some, and as a result, we could now have a race on the Republican side in the special election to replace Joyce Spilliotis for the 12th Essex State House seat.
Both Gregory Bunn and Leah Cole, who haven’t run for office in Peabody before, have pulled nomination papers. If they each get 150 qualified signatures by Jan. 22, there will be a Republican primary fight on March 5, with the winner going on to the final election ballot on April 2.
Bunn, a Ward 5 resident, is part of the management team for the North Shore Career Centers. He is a former social worker with the Department of Mental Health.
Not many details on Cole yet, but Bunn has set up a Facebook page.
More details here from a story in today’s Patch.
And … there’s still time to pull papers for additional candidates who might be interested. To be eligible, you must live in Peabody Wards 1-4, or Ward 5, Precinct 1 or 3.
Word on the street is that the former holder of this seat, attorney John Slattery, might be the next to jump in on the Democratic side, which already includes declared candidates Beverley Griffin Dunne and James Moutsoulas.
Councilor At-Large David Gravel will be on the final ballot with no party affiliation, since he’s seeking the office as an unenrolled candidate.
The Mass. Secretary of State’s office reports that the primary election in the 12th Essex District will take place on March 5, followed by the final election on April 2.
And there is not much time to get into the race, since nomination papers, with no less than 150 certified signatures, must be submitted to the Peabody City Clerk’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on Jan.22.
So far, the only declared Democratic candidates known to the Eye are School Committee member Beverley Griffin Dunne, and former Ward 3 Councilor Jim Moutsoulas. If both Dunne and Moutsoulas return their papers, it would necessitate a Democratic Primary.
Councilor At-Large David Gravel, who has official organized a committee through the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) , will need to run as an independent. To run as either a Democrat or Republican, you would have had to been an enrolled member one of those parties as of Oct. 31, 2012. Gravel is currently listed as “unenrolled,” and all he or any other independent candidate would need to get on the final ballot is at least 150 certified signatures.
You must also live in Peabody Wards 1-4, or Ward 5 (Precincts 1 and 3 only)
Other candidates who have been speculated about on the Democratic side include Peabody attorney John Slattery, who held the 12th Essex seat before Spilliotis. Slattery recently made an unsuccessful bid to beat Salem’s Joan Lovely in a special election to replace retiring State Senator Fred Berry.
Ward 5 resident Gregory Bunn, has entered the race on the Republican side, registering a committee with OCPF on Dec. 24th. Kosma Evangelidis told the Boston Globe earlier that he was running, meaning there would be a primary on the Republican side if both he and Bunn entered the fray.
There has been speculation that Peabody Councilor At-Large Anne Manning-Martin might jump into the race as an independent, but so far she has not told the Eye whether she is in or out.
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Peabody City Councilor At-Large Tom Gould told me this afternoon that he has decided not to run in the special election to replace late State Representative Joyce Spilliotis. Gould said he made the decision this week after talking with his family, and after evaluating how running a campaign this spring might affect his focus when it comes to his Peabody business, Treadwell’s Ice Cream.
“I’m out. I’m definitely not in,” said Gould, who after topping the ticket at-large in his first run for office in 2011, was being a considered a very strong candidate to replace former Rep Spilliotis. “I’m flattered that so many people thought highly enough of me to ask me to run, but I have a lot of things on my plate right now, including running my business.”
Gould’s departure from the race leaves just Beverley Dunne as the only candidate right now on the Democratic side. Sources are telling us that Councilor At-Large Dave Gravel will seek the seat as an independent. If no other Democrat steps forward, both Dunne and Gravel would be on the final ballot. All independents need to do is get the required 150 signatures, while Dunne would face a primary challenge should another Democrat step forward.
So far, no candidates have shown interest in running as Republicans, although Councilor At-Large Anne Manning. who is registered as unenrolled, is said to be considering a run. Manning lost to Spilliotis twice in Democratic primaries, but there’s a chance she could enter the race either as an independent or a Republican.
No date has been chosen for the special election, and according to Peabody City Clerk Tim Spanos, those dates are up to the State Legislature to decide.
Spilliotis passed away less than two weeks ago after losing her battle to cancer, and after serving the people of Peabody as a library trustee, then councilor at-large, and then state rep since the early 1990s.
The Eye will continue follow developments here, so please be sure to check back regularly.
I’m beginning to hear some things around town and through my social media channels that lead me to believe that this special election to fill the State Rep seat vacated by our friend Joyce Spilliotis, is going to be like no other election in recent memory here in our sometimes politically apathetic burg.
That’s right. You might actually see some totally grassroots candidates on the final ballot.
The requirements for making it to the final ballot are not that daunting. Essentially, you need to meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Must be a registered voter
- Must be a US citizen
- Must be a resident of the district for one year preceding the date of the election
- Must get at least 150 certified signatures from registered voters.
If you live in Wards 1-4 and part of Ward 5 (the city hall clerk’s office can let you know if you qualify here), that’s ALL you need to do to get on the final ballot as an independent candidate. If you want to run as a Democrat, you definitely need to win a primary against some better known, better financed candidates. But not if want to run as “unenrolled.”
This could set up some interesting scenarios on the final ballot. Conceivably, we could end up with one Democrat, one Republican, and several “independents.”
So … if you have always wanted to run for office, here’s your chance. City Clerk Tim Spanos says it’s up to the State Legislature to decide on the election dates, and that hasn’t happened yet. When it does, though, we’ll be sure to let everyone know when nomination papers will be available.
By the way, if you’d like to announce your candidacy here on EOP, just let me know.
The former Peabody City Councilor, and only woman from Peabody to ever serve as a State Rep, passed away late last week following an illness she had kept private.
Before a packed church, Joyce was eulogized and lauded by Congressman John Tierney, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Mayor Ted Bettencourt for her dedication to public service, her constituents, her family, and her friends.
In attendance were several members of the Mass House and Senate, and several current Peabody elected officials, including School Committee member Beverley Dunn, who read the “Lord Hear Our Prayer” petitions.
Also in attendance was former Mayor Mike Bonfanti, State Rep Ted Spelliotis, former Speaker of the House Tom Finneran, and newly elected Governor’s Councilor Eileen Duff.
Also spotted were City Councilors Rico Mello, Jim Liacos, Tom Gould, and David Gravel, former State Rep John Slattery, former City Councilor, School Committee member and State Rep Tom Walsh, and former City Councilor Bill Toomey.
Several other current and former Peabody elected officials were in attendance to pay tribute at her wake on Sunday night in Salem.
The services were also attended by hundreds of constituents, all of whom admired and respected her as an outstanding public servant
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in Joyce’s memory to the Hard Times Partnership fund, NSCAP, 98 Main St., Peabody, MA 01960, or to Haven from Hunger, 75 Wallis St., Peabody, MA 01960.
Free shuttle to wake for seniors
Mayor Ted Bettencourt has also arranged for free shuttle van transportation for those senior citizens wishing to attend the wake of the late Rep. Joyce Spiliotis, this Sunday, Dec. 2nd. Visiting hours are 2-to-6 p.m., at the O’Donnell Funeral Home located at 46 Washington Square in Salem.
Chris Ryder, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, told EOP that the shuttle will run continuously back and forth between the Council on Aging and the funeral home throughout the afternoon. For more information, please contact the Mayor’s office at 978-538-5700.
From Mayor Ted Bettencourt via email message:
“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Representative Joyce Spiliotis. Like many of you, I have known Joyce as a friend, mentor and colleague for many years. As a City Councilor and State Representative, Joyce was a tireless advocate for her constituents and a true champion for the City of Peabody. Please join me in offering our deepest sympathies to Joyce’s family during this extremely difficult time. “
– Bob Croce
Services for State Rep. Joyce Spilliotis, who passed away early this morning, will be held on Sunday and Monday.
Joyce’s husband, Dick Jarvis, told Eye on Peabody that visiting hours will be on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2-to-6 p.m., at the O’Donnell Funeral Home, 46 Washington Square, Salem. Prayer services will take place at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church, 1 Margin Street, Peabody on Monday at 10 a.m.
We’ll publish more details as they become available, but Dick would like to thank everyone for their outpouring of sympathy and respect for Joyce. He says it has been a very difficult time for he and his family, but it’s “wonderful” to know how much Joyce’s public service meant to the citizens of Peabody.
We then smiled over the thought of Joyce right now asking God when nomination papers will be available for her to run for a spot on Heaven’s City Council.
– Bob Croce