Stanley’s successor doesn’t figure to have it much better, at least not right off the bat. The basement is usually reserved for freshman members of the minority party, usually Republicans, and Lenny Mirra, a Republican from West Newbury who won the election to fill Stanley’s seat, will be the only freshman Republican in the House for this upcoming session.
Stanley said Mirra won’t even get her old office, because she did get one perk that other basement dwellers didn’t have.
“I had my own door,” she said. “Freshmen won’t get that.”
Stanley said she wouldn’t recommend the path she chose to everyone, and that even if there has to come a point in a legislative career when you have to tell the party leadership “no can do,” it would be best to play along if you can’t deal with the consequences.
“If you can’t take that, don’t go there,” she said. “I think you should play the game for as long as you can and you should do very well for your district.”
Stanley said she is proud of the things she was able to accomplish while in office, particularly getting the Bates Bridge replacement project funded and helping abolish Essex County as a government entity, which she said has saved the state more than $1 billion.
She also defended her position on earmarks, which she acknowledged can be controversial, but said she believed they are a good thing when there is money available.
“Over the 18 years, I’ve brought just over $100 million, and those are earmarked funds that would not have been here in any other way,” she said. “That’s about $2,500 for every person that lives here. I’m really proud of that.”
Stanley said the people of the 2nd Essex District were always her top priority, and she loved walking around the district, dropping into local shops and hearing from her constituents, who would always tell her exactly how they thought she was doing, good or bad.