NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 1, 2013

House freshman

Mirra poised to join ranks on Beacon Hill

WEST NEWBURY — The new year marks a new beginning for Lenny Mirra, who will soon be leaving behind a life in the small business world to take up their cause on Beacon Hill.

On Wednesday, Mirra will be sworn in as 2nd Essex District state representative, succeeding Rep. Harriett Stanley, D-West Newbury, who is retiring after 18 years.

The West Newbury Republican won election by championing himself as an advocate for small business and promised that he would fight to rein in wasteful spending and bring about business-friendly reforms.

His first order of business after the swearing-in ceremony is to work toward reviewing the state formula that determines local aid funding.

“It’s supposed to be reviewed every two years and it hasn’t been,” Mirra said. “A lot of small towns in the district have been shortchanged because of that.”

Mirra said he has spoken to a number of other area legislators who represent small communities, including Rep. Brad Hill of Ipswich and Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, who also support the measure,

Stanley said she is looking forward to watching how Mirra does, adding that she wasn’t surprised he won the seat despite the obstacles his campaign faced in the election.

“If you look at the voting patterns of this district, it is a very, very independent district. They vote the person, not the party,” she said.

The 2nd Essex District, which includes West Newbury, Newbury, Merrimac, Georgetown, Groveland and parts of Haverhill and Boxford, typically leans more conservative than other areas of the state. In the November election, many of the district communities supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and the district overwhelmingly backed U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in both of his Senate campaigns.

But the district also elected Stanley, a Democrat, nine consecutive times between 1994 and 2010. Facing a serious groundswell of Democratic support, driven largely by President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, Mirra had a difficult fight ahead of him.

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