NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 30, 2013

'Brush fire of liberty' in Peabody

You who are old, and have fought the fight,

And have won or lost or left the fight,

Weigh us not down with fears of the world,

As we run!

— Cale Young Rice

I memorized this quote a long time ago, seems to me it was when I was young, about to become a taxpayer activist. Or maybe it was when I started to become cynical about politics, and reminding myself not to pass that on to younger activists. It came to mind on Friday evening.

I was at a “Special Election Countdown to Victory Reception” in Peabody for Leah Cole, a young woman who is running for state representative in Tuesday’s election, in the 12th Essex District recently represented by Joyce Spiliotis.

Citizens for Limited Taxation’s Proposition 21/2 PAC has endorsed Cole as the best choice for taxpayers, but I wouldn’t usually get personally involved in a legislative district other than my own. However, I don’t like the way she’s been dismissed as if she’s a freckle on the nose of the political complexion.

It’s been noted that there is much excitement about “a competitive race in Peabody Wards 1-4 and part of Ward 5” between a Democrat school committeewoman and a city councilor who is running as an independent but has pledged to caucus with the Democrats on Beacon Hill.

Just what we need, more Democrats on Beacon Hill. I thought Democrats were into “a balanced approach” and “fairness,” not to mention more women in elected office. The candidacy of one young woman is dismissed, as nearly as I can tell, only because she is young, and a Republican. This made me angry, so let me dismiss both those excuses for not supporting her.

Young. Yes, Leah Cole is 24 years old. Some of the people crowded into her reception Friday evening were younger than that. Many 20-somethings, like Salem’s Sean O’Brien, had become involved with the recent congressional campaign of Richard Tisei — who had just graduated from college when he won his first campaign for legislator, representing Wakefield.

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