January 5, 2017
ITEM FILE PHOTO
Thomas Walsh celebrates his victory in the Peabody special election in this March 2016 file photo.
By LEAH DEARBORN
PEABODY — Fresh from being sworn in to new terms, state Rep. Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody) and state Rep. Bradley H. Jones Jr. (R-Reading) said they are opening their offices to constituents to hear their views and ideas.
Walsh’s first open office of the year at the Torigian Family Health Center will be Jan. 13 from 9-10 a.m.
“I’m very pleased to be sworn into a full two-year term,” said Walsh, who was sworn in at the State House Jan. 4. “It’s been a very interesting several months.”
Walsh won the 12th Essex representative seat last spring that had been vacated in September of 2015 by Leah Cole.
Jones, who was also reelected for an eighth term as minority leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, said residents of Lynnfield, North Reading, Reading and Middleton tend to visit his office for two sets of reasons.
“They might want to talk about an idea they have for legislation. The other side is people having a particular problem,” said Jones. “It goes from policy to personal.”
Constituents can also arrange for individual appointments and he called every coffee shop in the area his office. Jones’ office hours will be the second Friday of every month at Lynnfield Town Hall from 9-10 a.m., beginning Jan. 13.
Walsh said one of his newest initiatives is a collective effort through city government and state Sen. Joan Lovely to conduct a study exploring the use of existing rail lines to run a trolley to the Salem MBTA Station.
“I see it as an economic development tool,” said Walsh. “It’s something we would like to pursue.”
Walsh said the initiative is still in the preliminary stages and that the first step is to secure funding to hire a consultant.
“I think it’s the future,” said Walsh. He added that Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. and city council have done a very effective job rejuvenating the downtown, but that there are still vacancies in a number of buildings.
Additional transportation options will help fill those vacancies and bring more young professionals into the city, he said.
Walsh was elected to city council in 2015 for a two-year term as well, which he plans to complete. He said he will not seek reelection to the council when that term is up.
Leah Dearborn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.