Donald Trump

Swampscott Huddle focuses on change

Members of the Swampscott Huddle group pose for a photo at the Panera Bread in Vinnin Square.


SWAMPSCOTT — Abbe Smith is quick to say not everyone in the room is necessarily a Democrat.

There may have been an independent; heck, there may have been a Republican. But looking around, it’s safe to say that any Donald Trump supporter in the room had an incredible amount of restraint.

The Swampscott Huddle — 13 men and women so far — got together Friday night at the Panera Bread in Vinnin Square.

The concept of a huddle was born out of the women’s marches; “a small group of friends, family, neighbors and fellow marchers … and a space to meet” is all that’s necessary, according to the website for the Women’s March on Washington.

The purpose of a huddle, the website says, is to “keep the women’s march spirit alive, build the movement beyond those who marched, and set a concrete plan of action.”

Smith, of Swampscott, said she had planned on being in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20; spending the day watching the inauguration of the country’s first female president. It was a plan that never came.

“I didn’t want to be anywhere near Washington” on that day, she said Friday over a coffee. Instead, she went to Florida. The day after Trump’s inauguration, she was at the women’s march in West Palm Beach.

“One of the reasons the women’s march was so powerful is it wasn’t anti-Republican, it wasn’t partisan and it wasn’t anti-Trump; it was pro-humanist, it was pro-our values, pro-family,” Smith said.

Lynn marchers see hope, but feel doubt

Fear of a Trump presidency was one of the topics that led off the discussion in the back room of the restaurant. We’ve got to make it another three-and-three-quarter years before another election, event organizer and Swampscott resident Brian Felder says.

“I’m not so sure it’s gonna take that long,” one discussion member interjects to laughter. 

Felder said people need to be aware “it’s not just that we don’t like (Trump), or we’re scared of him … but we have a damn good reason to be.”

“What are we afraid of?” one member later asks; it’s a question that silences the room for a moment.

Debbie Friedlander of Swampscott said she’s concerned the current administration is becoming, as she puts it, a kleptocracy: a form of government in which officials use their power to steal.

“I really don’t believe (former Exxon Mobil CEO) Rex Tillerson is acting in good faith as secretary of State,” she said. “That’s my greatest fear; there’s no transparency.”

Another question is asked: “What is the thing that hurts us the most?”

A few things, Felder says. “One is the view from the outside of what this country is right now; the other is … (losing) what this country stands for,” he said. “It is really frightening to think of what we’ve already sacrificed in the last 100 days, never mind what we could over the next (three-and-three-quarter years).”

It’s a period that may appear long to some, but this was not a meeting to complain. Members spoke of making phone calls; writing letters — Smith came with stationary — while others flipped through a 15-page contact list for elected officials.

April 15 is coming up. One member mentioned that an act of protest could be to send blank tax forms to the White House; “We want to see your taxes, (Trump),” she says to nods and agreement.

Getting youth involved was another topic touched upon. Their passion and love for their country is something that should be taken advantage of, members said.

“I think young people communicate very different than our age group,” said Friedlander, who is retired. “I also don’t think they associate with political parties, (but it) doesn’t mean they are not politically knowledgeable.”

“I think they see political parties as old-school,” she said. “I think they see it as part of a corporate bureaucracy; and I think they’re very distrustful.”

Felder, a member of the Swampscott Democratic Town Committee, said young voters want elected officials to listen to them.

“We know there are these groups in high schools and in colleges, and would they say they’re lined up with our party? No,” Felder said. “Would they be willing to sit down and talk with us about what would get through to them? Absolutely.”

Smith posed a question to the group: what are your three big concerns under a Trump administration. Could we gather a consensus, she asked.

It wasn’t easy; the “Russia issue” — the country’s alleged involvement in the U.S. election — could prove Trump a traitor, one member said. Other answers ranged from education to climate change; the Affordable Care Act to Tillerson’s role at the State Department.

Friedlander, again, went in on Tillerson. Once the State Department goes, we’re finished; it won’t matter what kind of health care we have, she said.

But under the first months of a Trump presidency, there’s one group most discussion members saved praise for: the press. Members rattled off publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, that, they say hold a spotlight on the administration.

Because without the press, Smith said, the country could fall further “down the rabbit hole.”

The next Swampscott Huddle meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. Friday, March 24 in the back room of Panera Bread in Vinnin Square.

David Wilson can be reached at

Repeal of Affordable Care Act lamented in Lynn

State Senator Thomas M. McGee attended a meeting hosted by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton at Lynn Community Health Center to hear from constituents who are at risk by President Trump’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act.


LYNNU.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) has been one of the most vocal national critics of President Trump’s new administration, making appearances on the cable networks and sparking debate across the country.

On Saturday morning, Moulton brought a local focus to a national issue, taking part in a roundtable on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly referred to as Obamacare, at the Lynn Community Health Center.

“It’s an incredibly important issue in the community and in the country, as the Republicans in Washington intend to repeal the ACA but have nothing to replace it with,” said Moulton.

During the hour-long discussion, Moulton heard from about a dozen community members, Lynn Community Health Center staff, and local businesspeople about how they have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act and their fears if it is repealed.

The Lynn Community Health Center serves 39,000 people annually, according to Lori Abrams Berry, the center’s CEO. Before the ACA passed, 40 percent of those people had no insurance. Today, that number is under 15 percent, Berry said.

That increase in the number of patients who have insurance has a huge impact on the ability to run and fund the health center, Berry said.

State Sen. Thomas M. McGee noted how former Governor Mitt Romney laid the foundation for the ACA in Massachusetts.

“It was embraced by the governor at the time and it was not embraced by the Republicans down in Washington, which was pretty interesting,” said McGee. “They were the ones who came up with the mandate so we were able to pay for it. We were able to insure over 96 percent of the people in the Commonwealth, and our challenge with the ACA under attack is what’s it going to mean for what we’ve been able to do to keep the insurance that we have in Massachusetts.”

With a repeal, McGee said Massachusetts could be in line for losses of billions of dollars in health insurance costs. He said the state could be especially hard hit when it comes to emergency room costs.

“From the legislative perspective, we used to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for the patients who didn’t have insurance who went to the emergency room,” McGee said. “All the hospitals were being inundated and we were really struggling with those costs, we were actually subsidizing those costs as a legislature and a Commonwealth into the hospitals that were giving that care. Obamacare has created a great opportunity to bring those costs down, bring people out of the emergency rooms, and find a better way to care for people.”

While the politics of the ACA was never far from everyone’s mind at the roundtable discussion, it was the personal stories that had the greatest emotional impact of the morning.

Deb Debski has been battling a rare autoimmune disease that was destroying her liver and needed a transplant in order to live. While she said she is doing well now, she was in the hospital earlier this week.

“I told my doctor that I had this discussion coming up and that he had to let me out,” Debski said. “I’m very thankful for the Affordable Care Act. I had $17,000 in medications during the past year, and I paid $75.59. These are medications that I need to take twice a day in order to live.”

Debski said she is extremely upset that the ACA could be repealed with nothing to take its place.

“It would be an incredible hardship to decide whether I can eat or take my medicine,” she said.

Moulton said that Democrats in Congress are open to changes in the ACA, and that he is open to changes in the ACA that could improve it.

“But, we can’t just throw it out and not have a replacement,” Moulton said. “That would be disastrous and you clearly heard that from so many people. We want to hear these stories because we care so much about you, we want to be able to say this to our Republican friends in Washington, but I think it is even more powerful when you convey it directly.”

Marblehead mesmerized by Syrian refugee’s story

From left, Renee Keaney, Ann Cohen and Deborah Cherry, all from Marblehead, listen as Amira Elamri, a Syrian refugee who lives in Watertown, talks about her life at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead on Sunday.


MARBLEHEAD — As the legal battle continues over President Donald Trump’s executive order that would temporarily ban all refugees and travel from seven Muslim-majority nations, a Syrian mother shared her own refugee story at Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead on Sunday.

The talk, which took place in front of about 150 people, was billed as “the human side of a complex issue,” by organizers of the Meeting House Speaker Series. Amira Elamri described conditions in Syria, which went from a peaceful home for her and her family, to a war-torn country almost instantaneously, and her family’s escape from Damascus three years ago.

Recently, a federal judge blocked Trump’s travel ban, which includes Syria, and his administration’s appeal of the decision was denied.

Elamri, 32, said before the war her family lived in a very quiet and peaceful way in Syria. She said there was no problem at all, as Syria was a mixture of Christian and Islam. People lived in harmony.

“Just a day, a single day flipped all of that upside down,” Elamri said. “Nobody knew that was coming and that’s why, do not take anything for granted. And always be grateful for everything you have. I took it for granted. And I thought that what I had would remain mine forever. But I was wrong. In 2011, when the war started, me and my family, and most Syrians lost everything. My personal family lost their main source of income. We got stuck in our house in (a) Damascus suburb for several days.”

She said her kids saw fire under the bedroom window. Her family heard bombs and explosions and could begin to differentiate just by the sound what weapon was being used. At some point, she said they couldn’t reach their house, because the highway wasn’t safe to drive. They began spending nights at hotels in downtown Damascus away from their home, Elamri said.

“Our neighbors got killed,” Elamri said. “Later on, we got the news that our dream house was vandalized. I felt angry, heartbroken and devastated.”

From there, the family moved into a studio apartment in downtown Damascus, where Elamri and her kids slept on the same bed. Her husband, Bassel Aldehneh, slept in the living room on the sofa. The view was great on the 15th floor, she said, but there was no electricity, so no elevator service in Damascus. So, she and her two kids had to go up and down the stairs every day with heavy school bags. They also had no water, because it couldn’t go up to the 15th floor without a pump.

Elamri said she had to keep a schedule for when the family could do laundry, shower and cook. In winter, they had to wear coats inside the apartment, because there was no heat.

In 2013, Elamri said the family got a U.S. visa, but didn’t want to use it. They received threats in Syria, and decided to move to Lebanon, where they opened a business.

“But also, threats kept coming and we decided to take the chance and use the U.S. visa,” Elamri said. “In 2014, we came to Watertown looking for a safer place for our kids. We applied for asylum.”

She and her husband were able to get their work permits. They went from arriving in the country with only their clothes to achieving much afterward. Elamri said she works as an inclusion aide in public schools, while her husband is a travel agent. Her kids, now 7 and 11, are happy, safe and have lots of friends.

“We couldn’t have done anything without the people that we met,” Elamri said. “They offered us help, resources, respect, and that’s how all communities should be showing, welcoming the newcomers.”

Her family is lucky, Elamri said, but millions are still suffering inside Syria, in Damascus suburbs and in camps.

“All they need is a shelter and a safe place,” she said. “We cannot turn our backs because they cannot do it on their own. Should the U.S. stop receiving refugees because ISIS is getting in with Syrian refugees, that’s not true. Because, first Syrians are fleeing ISIS themselves and the person who connects ISIS with Muslim, this is not OK, because ISIS are barbaric and Islam is a peaceful religion. If ISIS claims they are Muslim, believe me, they are not, because what they’re doing is not what Islam is. They do not represent Islam.”

Elamri said despite efforts to improve vetting by the Trump administration, people who come to the U.S. already experience an extreme vetting process that could take up to two years. When they arrive, she said, Syrian refugees don’t live on taxpayer dollars or welfare. They receive a few hundred dollars from the government for housing and furniture, and small monthly payments, which stop after six months.,

Typically, only the financially well-off Syrian refugees are able to come to the U.S., with the less fortunate living in camps. So, Elamri said the Syrian refugees in America are usually highly educated and positively contributing to society.

“Syrians left Syria because they wanted a safer and better place for their kids,” Elamri said. “Don’t you think they deserve a chance to survive? I think I will survive and I will keep fighting for them and for everybody. Let’s not let this crisis divide us, instead unite us.”

Before her lecture, Elamri dealt with a disturbance from a woman outside the church, who criticized her for wearing a hijab, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women. She said it was the first time that had happened to her in Massachusetts, and said the interaction was most likely due to ignorance, or a lack of knowledge about the Muslim religion.
“The hijab is not about being oppressed,” Elamri said. “It’s a choice.”

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley

Lynn immigration center inundated with questions

Protesters hold up a sign that spells “#NoMuslimBan” during a rally against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban at Copley Square in Boston on Sunday.

Item staff

An executive order issued by President Donald Trump banning refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim countries on Friday sparked immediate anger and confusion.

Protests were held at airports across the country on Saturday where immigrants from the targeted countries were being detained. Hours after hundreds of protesters flocked to Boston Logan International Airport, a judge issued an emergency temporary stay on Trump’s executive order, halting deportations.

About 12 hours after protesters cleared out of Logan Airport, hundreds of people headed to Copley Square in Boston on Sunday afternoon to continue voicing their opposition to Trump’s immigration orders. The president also recently officially ordered a Mexican border wall built.

Trump issued a statement via Facebook on Sunday, defending the ban.

“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so by protecting our own citizens and border,” he said in a statement. “The seven countries named in the executive order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror. To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting.”

Locally, Natasha Soolkin, director of The New American Center, which serves the refugee and immigrant population in the Lynn area, said the executive order targeting seven Muslim countries has resulted in confusion and fear with that population. She said there are people frightened and unaware of what’s going on.

“They came from places where they experienced extreme violence and harassment, and are probably scared,” Soolkin said. “They deserve to understand this is not the place for that.”

People came to the country with the hope that the worst was over and that they were welcome, Soolkin added. Now it’s all in the air, she said.

“They suffered enough,” she said. “They went through so much to make it here. They deserve a welcoming feeling.”

Soolkin, an immigrant herself from the former Soviet Union, said she finds the new turn in policy a bit scary. She doesn’t mind a more thorough vetting process, on top of what she said is already a vigorous screening, as safety is paramount. But she’s unclear of what’s going to happen in the next 120 days. Are the people from Syria indefinitely being kept out, she questioned.

Going forward, Soolkin expects Monday will be a busy day at the center, which provides social support services, English classes and job search help and other resources for immigrants and refugees. She is preparing for a barrage of questions about the executive order from those who use the center.

Soolkin plans to contact the state attorney’s office to see what they’re doing in response, and is also thinking about getting an immigration lawyer to come in, to interpret what’s happening with the order.

Rudy Vale, 47, of Hingham, immigrated to the U.S. from Iran when she was 7 years old. She married an American man and has two children. Her family was protesting along with her in Copley Square. She said the protest was beautiful. What she found profound was that it wasn’t just Muslims gathered, saying “not here, not in this country. Enough is enough.”

“We all feel that our country’s been hijacked by a very small group of people that want to push an agenda,” Vale said. “It’s not us. It’s not what America stands for.”

Carissa Halston, 35, of East Boston, attended one of last week’s women’s marches. The march was great, she said, but she was unsure of its end goal. But, she said the case was different at the Logan Airport rally on Saturday, where people were being detained.

With Halston was Randolph Pfaff, 36, also from East Boston. Pfaff said that a federal judge stepping in and issuing the emergency stop on the travel ban was an important step.

Pfaff said having people come out and protest at the airport shows that the popular opinion is against the ban, and that it doesn’t represent the best of the country.

“Silence is tacit acknowledgement that this is OK,” Halston said.

Siri Benn, 25, of northern Virginia, was at the airport with a message written on a torn sheet of paper: “Do not criminalize Islam,” it said. “Do not make the USA a fascist nation.”

“The idea of people coming here and not being able to enter — the emotional toll on those people — it’s just not part of our country,” said Lucy Joan Sollogub, of Norwood.

Edith Sangueza, 28, of Cambridge, was in Copley Square Sunday. Her father is an immigrant, and she’s studying at Harvard University, hoping to practice immigration law.

“This is obscene,” she said. “His executive actions are unconstitutional.”

Today, it’s people from Muslim nations, she said. Tomorrow, it’s going to be Central Americans trying to get away from gang violence, or Mexicans seeking asylum here.

“I’m so horrified by Donald Trump’s ban that it’s hard to find words to really describe how horrified I am,” said Emily Lodish, of Boston. “I want to do anything to be a part of fighting for the rights of refugees to be welcome in my country. His actions are so opposed to what America is about and we all need to make ourselves heard. I’m ashamed, embarrassed in the eyes of the rest of the world.”

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) echoed those sentiments on Friday, issuing a statement condemning Trump’s executive order on refugees. He said Trump’s policies put the country’s troops at risk, and will help inspire attacks both at home and abroad.

“We are a nation of immigrants, and America is stronger when we welcome the refugees of our enemies,” Moulton said in a statement. “These policies do not put America first. I am ashamed that he is our president.”


Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley

Did you attend one of the women’s marches?

A crowd of marchers flood the city for the Boston Women’s March for America.

Tell us if you attended one of the women's marches over the weekend.

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

North Shore women step up

‘Trump, I think, is our salvation’

Donald Trump supporter Theodore Bakacs entered the Air Force 38 years ago Thursday.


SAUGUS More than 60 veterans and residents gathered for breakfast at the Saugus American Legion Post 210 Friday morning to celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump as president.

“Trump, I think, is our salvation,” said Theodore Bakacs, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I want to go back to when people love our country. I’m so sick of this country and I busted my ass for this country. I hope Trump can make a difference.”

Bakacs, who owns a T-shirt printing businesses, created T-shirts that read “Make America America Again.”

“I think it’s a great day,” said state Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus). “We should always honor the position of president, no matter who they are. We should look at what we call the United States and we should be united and change some of the negative energy into positive energy and work together to make America better.”

On an average Friday morning about 40 people gather for breakfast, said Debra Dion Faust, house and bar manager. A typical meal includes eggs, homefries, bacon, ham sausages and either pancakes or french toast. In honor of Friday’s ceremonies, the meal was enhanced by offering pastries, melon, prosciutto, waffles, french toast and pancakes.

“It’s a way of getting people out and having a good time and celebrating events in the world,” Dion said. “Hopefully we’re going to move on seamlessly from here.”

Corinne Riley began bringing her dad, a World War II veteran who died in November, to the breakfast three years ago when he was told he had only three months to live. He quickly formed bonds, felt appreciation and support for his service, and got involved with the military community in Saugus, she said.

Many veterans and their families expressed frustration in the way veterans have been treated in the past eight years and said they hoped the new leadership would bring change to the nation.

“They fought for our nation and they felt like there rights were threatened,” said Maureen Dever, a Saugus resident.  

“The vets are for Trump,” said  Winthrop. “(The administration) needs to do more for the veterans. Hopefully Trump will be the one to do it.”

Ed Koolian, a volunteer and military veteran, called President Barack Obama the “worst president we’ve had.”

“This man (Trump), if he comes through, we will be a lot better off,” Koolian said. “(Obama) didn’t do a lot for the vets. Hopefully Trump will do a lot more. People don’t realize, this is the best thing that has happened to our country.”

Facebook users sound off on Donald Trump

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte

Facebook users sound off on Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrive for church service at St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington.

We asked our readers Thursday for their feelings on Donald Trump’s incoming presidency. We received dozens of comments on Facebook. Read some below (comments have been edited for space and clarity).

Nancy Gilberg, Salem: “Horrified, disgusted, and very fearful for the safety of our planet.”

Susan Inserra, Saugus: “Instead of picking him apart for every blasted thing, would you please give the guy a chance?”

Ron Bogan, Danvers: “Very optimistic.”

Karen Conduragis, Norton: “I made a voting mistake, but honestly, could not vote for Clinton either. Just disgusted all around.”

Chris Baione, Beaumont, TX: “Definitely willing to give him a chance. Just think of the alternative. Never in a million years, Hi-lie-ary.”

Jennifer Pires, Lynn: “So disappointed that this great country would elect such a horrible person.”

Linda Burns, Reading: “Nothing we can do about it. We just have to hope it’ll be better than expected. I’m not going to add more stress to an already stress-filled life.”

Ann Desrosiers O’Brien, Lynn: “Excited to see some change. Welfare reform and better veterans affairs.”

Kirt Bonnevie, Lynn: “Well I was willing to give him a chance until I saw his picks for his incoming Cabinet. He has lied to and is still lying to the ignorant working class that voted him in.”

Mark Ierardi, Lynn: “Hopeful.”

Carol Alfonso MacDonald, Raymond, NH: “Wonder how he fooled so many people…”

Bukia Chalvire, Peabody: “I feel great.”

Sue Lane, Lynn: He deserves a chance just like ignorant Obama got.”

James Nalesnik, Lynn: Well he was voted in, so honestly I haven’t thought much about it. It’s not like the world is going to end.”

Susan Marrin, Lynn: “Love it.”

Donelda Millar, Saugus: “It’s a joke.”

Jay Curry, Newburyport: “Giving him a chance.”

DeLeon Mariugenia, Lynn: “I don’t feel thrilled or excited. I hope for him to be a good president. And you never know, sometimes people can look mean and it’s the other way around. He could be a good person after all.”

Kurt Anderson, Peabody: “Ask me in a couple of years. He isn’t even in office yet.”

How do you feel about a Trump presidency?

Trump takes charge: The nation’s 45 president

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.


WASHINGTON — Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking the helm of a deeply divided nation and putting Republicans in control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

The billionaire businessman and former reality television star has pledged an era of profound change, energizing his supporters with promises to wipe away predecessor Barack Obama’s signature achievements and to restore America to a lost position of strength. But Trump’s call for restrictive immigration measures and his caustic campaign rhetoric about women and minorities have infuriated other millions of Americans. He assumes office as one of the most unpopular incoming presidents in modern history.

The pomp and pageantry of the inaugural celebrations were also shadowed by questions about Trump’s ties to Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have determined worked to tip the 2016 election to help the Republican win.

Facebook users sound off on Donald Trump

Trump’s inauguration drew crowds to the nation’s capital to witness the history. It repelled others. More than 60 House Democrats refused to attend his swearing in ceremony in the shadow of the Capitol dome. One Democrat who did sit among the dignitaries was Hillary Clinton, Trump’s vanquished campaign rival who was widely expected by both parties to be the one taking the oath of office.

Instead, it was Trump placing his hand on two Bibles, one used by his family and another used for President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration. At 70, Trump is the oldest person to be sworn in as president, marking a generational step backward after two terms for Obama, one of the youngest presidents to serve as commander in chief.

Trump takes charge of an economy that has recovered from the Great Recession but has nonetheless left millions of Americans feeling left behind. The nation’s longest war is still being waged in Afghanistan and U.S. troops are battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The American health care system was expanded to reach millions more Americans during Obama’s tenure, but at considerable financial costs. Trump has vowed to dismantle and rebuild it.

Trump faces such challenges as the first president to take office without ever having held a political position or served in the military. He has stacked his Cabinet with established Washington figures and wealthy business leaders. Though his team’s conservative bent has been cheered by many Republicans, the overwhelmingly white and male Cabinet has been criticized for a lack of diversity.

How do you feel about a Trump presidency?

Officials expected hundreds of thousands of people to flock to the National Mall to witness the inauguration of the 45th president, though early crowds appeared smaller than past celebrations. Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police in riot gear helped ticket-holders get through to the ceremony.

In a show of solidarity, all of the living American presidents attended the swearing-in ceremony, except for 92-year-old George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized this week with pneumonia. His wife, Barbara, was also admitted to the hospital after falling ill.

While Trump came to power bucking convention, he wrapped himself in the traditions that accompany the peaceful transfer of power. Following a morning church service with his family, Trump and his wife, Melania, had tea at the White House with Obama and outgoing first lady Michelle Obama.

The two couples greeted each other with handshakes and hugs, and Mrs. Trump presented Mrs. Obama with a gift. Following their private gathering in the executive mansion, the Trumps and Obamas traveled together to the Capitol for the swearing in ceremony.

Trump’s the topic in Marblehead

An audience listens to a presentation about the Trump Administration’s possible effect on the Supreme Court.


MARBLEHEAD — President-elect Donald Trump will officially take office on Friday, and many Americans are concerned as to what he will do in office. Attorney and former resident Deirdre Robbins spoke at the Abbot Public Library in Marblehead Tuesday night  about the possible effects of the Trump Administration, and the effect it will have on the Supreme Court.

Robbins discussed the history of the Constitution as well as amendments to give context to her speech, and to help the audience understand today’s Supreme Court.

“I think we all know the judge that Trump appoints to fill Justice (Antonin) Scalia’s seat we all know is going to be of a particular attitude or background or approach,” said Robbins. Scalia’s death left the court evenly split, 4-4, along conservative and liberal lines, and Trump has promised to appoint a conservative justice to take his place.

Robbins  gave information on specific cases such as Roe v. Wade, which guarantees women’s reproductive rights,  and Massachusetts v. EPA that went through the Supreme Court, and whether the Constitution prohibits or denies these specific cases.

“Although we don’t take any positions on candidates and parties, we have a lot of positions and we advocate on behalf of those positions, like reproductive choice, we have positions on money in politics, gambling and The League exists on the local level, the state level and the national level,” said Kathy Leonardson of The Marblehead League of women voters.

“One of our big things in The League of Women Voters is civic engagement, keeping the public informed and interested,” said Leonardson.

Locals set for Grand Old Trump party

Robbins talked  about Trump’s potential Supreme Court Justices, and the possible changes that could occur with passed laws. State legal activity, and their individual liberties and freedoms were also discussed, and how the states may choose to enact their freedoms.

“These changes that possibly may happen during this administration might affect some of the issues where we have concerns, the environment is another big one … this is really important for the public and I think it’s really timely,” said Leonardson.

MLK breakfast honors civil rights leader

Antonia DeLeon, Ariyani Duverge, Brenda Mejia, and Dalyanna Assade of the Cultura Latina Dance Academy prepare to perform at the 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.


LYNN The 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast brought together several community groups and performers who used different outlets to express the same message: one in honor of a man who was a leader and activist in the civil rights movement.

The breakfast was hosted by the Community Minority Cultural Center, a Lynn-based organization that promotes multiculturalism.

Children form the Cultura Latina Dance Academy, under the direction of Executive Director Yaya Rodriguez, performed Latin-American styles of dance.

Fourth-graders from The Groove School, an after-school program offered by Building Bridges Through Music, recited the organization’s pledge, focused on having respect for themselves and others. They followed the pledge by expressing themselves through drumming. Building Bridges is a nonprofit, multicultural expressive arts organization. Its mission is to bring together diverse neighboring communities to increase cultural awareness and racial harmony by using music, said Director Doreen Murray.

Murray grabbed the attention of each attendee with her spirited performance of “I Go To The Rock” by Whitney Houston.

“We all need to take a stand to be kind, courteous and courageous in this world we live in,” Murray said. “We have to have something stronger than us to believe in, to execute our faith in.”

Lynnfield High has goals steeped in Ivy

Keynote speaker Louis Elisa, the former president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP, reminded the audience that the luxuries they take for granted every day came at a price.

“We have grown in many ways in the right direction,” Elisa said. “I love my country, but I can remember a time when I felt like my country didn’t love me.”

Many called King a dreamer, but he was a fighter during a time of controversy, Elisa said.

With Republican Donald Trump set to be sworn in as president Friday, Elisa said the country has elected a “madman trying to turn the clock back to the dark ages of civil decline.”

“(King) took the challenge of making his community and our country a better place,” he said. “I can only feel contempt for what we, as a nation, have allowed (our country) to become.”

Friday the 13th has been known as a day to fear, said Maru Colbert, a motivational speaker.

“For many of us, Friday the 13th has a new name: Friday the 20th,” Colbert said.

Elisa cited the numerous acts of violence, racism and killing of young black men in Chicago.

“Shame on America and what we say we stand for when silence prevails,” he said. “If this was a virus or the plague or the opioid epidemic, I know there would have been a solution implemented long before now.”

But Elisa added he has hope that the nation can learn to respect that the country will always be made up of people who are different than one another. Turning to and not on each other will make America great again, he said.

Representatives of Lynn United for Change also honored King’s legacy by pledging to carry on the fight against racism and for social and economic justice.

The group gathered outside Lynn City Hall Monday afternoon to read from speeches and connect the words and example of King to ongoing social justice struggles, including the group’s local work for access to housing for all.

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

Locals set for Grand Old Trump party

Alexander “Sandy” Tennant and Sara Appiah prepare for Tennant’s trip to Donald Trump’s inauguration.


Several North Shore residents are eagerly anticipating attending President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration next week, while others will be protesting by participating in the Boston Women’s March.

Trump is scheduled to be sworn in on Friday, Jan. 20 as the 45th president of the United States. The afternoon ceremony will be followed by an inaugural parade and ball. Other inaugural events are scheduled during the week.

Alexander “Sandy” Tennant, a Swampscott resident and former executive director of the MassGOP, said next week will be his fourth or fifth inauguration. He said it’s great to go down, meet different people from around the country and see those new people heading up government.

Tennant said he wasn’t originally a Trump supporter, but as the field of Republican presidential candidates whittled down, he changed his mind. For his first few months in office, Tennant said he wants to see Trump focus on helping out veterans and improving education.

“I feel the way the majority of Americans do,” Tennant said. “We need a change of direction and Washington just hasn’t been working. Donald Trump certainly appears to be the man to go in and shake things up.”

Moulton faults Trump for delaying VA pick

The Boston Women’s March for America is expected to be an anti-Trump protest, held the day after the new president is sworn in. It’s a sister march for those unable to make the Women’s March on Washington, which is scheduled for the same day. Thousands of people are expected to march in solidarity with communities most affected by the hate, intolerance and acts of violence being perpetuated across the nation, according to a description of the event.

State Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) said she’s planning on joining the march in Boston. She won’t be attending the inauguration, but did say she attended when President Barack Obama was sworn in eight years ago. At the time, she said, her daughters were in their early teens, and over the years, her girls have been able to take many things for granted that Obama promoted, such as women’s equality and fairness.

“We were all able to rest assured that the fate of the nation was in good, capable hands, in spite of all of the divisiveness and racism that he encountered,” Ehrlich said.

But, Ehrlich said the pendulum is about to shift the other way. She said someone’s been elected as the next president who has made fun of a disabled reporter, joked about grabbing a woman’s genitals, and ridiculed people for their sex, race and religion.

“There are really basically two reasons why I’m marching,” Ehrlich said. “First, is to stand united in opposition to the hatred and bigotry which has permeated the political sphere in the run-up to the election. The second reason is to feel the energy from the crowd from those who, like me, have chosen to stand up and object.

“His presidency so far, thankfully hasn’t started yet,” she continued. “Considering that it hasn’t started yet, I would say that our nation is in for a wild ride. He’s taken aim at the nation’s intelligence community and the media, both of which we need for a functioning democracy. I think his appointments, for the most part, they leave much to be desired.”

President Obama says goodbye in tearful speech

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and her guest will be attending the inauguration thanks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who called and asked if the mayor wanted to attend.

“I am absolutely excited,” Kennedy said. “I have never been to a presidential inauguration before. I voted for Trump because the country needed an entirely new direction, that government was getting stale on the national level and somebody had to come in and blow it up.”

Amy Carnevale, a Marblehead resident who serves on the Republican State Committee, is also heading to the inauguration next week. She was a delegate for Trump at the Republican National Convention.

“I’m really excited,” Carnevale said. “I think the inauguration of a new president is a historic moment no matter who the president is. I’m really excited just to be there for it and to play a small part in it that day.”

Carnevale said she’s most excited about seeing the peaceful transfer of power to a new president, which she called a testament to the country’s democracy after a bitterly fought election

For Trump’s first few months, Carnevale said she wants to see Trump focus on how he can improve the economy for all Americans. She said working Americans have too often felt left behind during Obama’s presidency. She also thinks healthcare should be a focus, adding that the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has been anything but affordable for most families.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass) said he’s chartered a train car, and so far, about 68 people from Massachusetts are joining him for the march in Washington. He said the energy and response to the Trump election from the people in the state has been extraordinary. A recent rally in Peabody, he said, drew more than 500 people, who wanted to do something and stand up for the values that were “under assault” from Trump.

Moulton said Trump is “assaulting” some of the fundamental tenets of the country’s democracy, with his “cronies” threatening a reporter for asking a question at the president-elect’s press conference on Wednesday, undermining the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Moulton said in politics, people are going to disagree with those on the other side. He said he disagreed with former President George W. Bush a lot, including on the Iraq War. But, he said he didn’t see Bush trying to undermine the country’s democracy like he views Trump is.

“That’s why this is so serious,” Moulton said. “We’ll show Trump that Americans are going to stand up for our democracy, for our Constitution, for the rule of law.”

Robert Tucker, a member of the Lynn Democratic City Committee and former president of the Lynn City Council, said he’s attending the march in Boston. He said it’s important for Americans to be heard and to watch the incoming administration closely, as what he’s seen so far with Trump has been troubling.

“I want this march to proclaim the rights of women, LGBTQIA and immigrants,” Tucker said. “We can’t let the positive gains we have achieved be destroyed over the next four years. Our nation is facing the prospect of reversing the rights of women and LGBTQIA that we have worked so hard to achieve.

“I want this march to proudly proclaim that America is a nation of immigrants and support the rights of immigrants to achieve their goal of becoming a citizen no matter where they come from or the color of their skin. We need to start on the local and state level to make sure our voices against discrimination are heard in Washington.”

Thomas Grillo contributed to this report. Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

President Obama says goodbye in tearful speech

President Barack Obama wipes away tears while speaking during his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago.


CHICAGO — President Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation Tuesday night in an emotional speech that sought to comfort and encourage a country on edge over economic changes, persistent security threats and the election of Donald Trump.

Obama’s valedictory speech in his hometown of Chicago was a public meditation on the trials and triumphs, promises kept and promises broken that made up his eight years in the White House. Arguing his faith in America had been confirmed, Obama said he ends his tenure inspired by America’s “boundless capacity” for reinvention, and he declared: “The future should be ours.”

His delivery was forceful for the most part, but by the end he was wiping away tears as the crowd embraced him one last time. He and wife Malia hugged former aides and other audience members long after the speech ended.

Reflecting on the corrosive recent political campaign, Obama said America’s great “potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

He made only passing reference to Republican Donald Trump, who will replace him in just 10 days. But when he noted the imminence of that change and the crowd began booing, he responded, “No, no, no, no, no.” One of the nation’s great strengths, he said, “is the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.”

Earlier, as the crowd of thousands chanted, “Four more years,” he simply smiled and said, “I can’t do that.”

‘Political payback’ in Swampscott?

Soon Obama and his family will exit the national stage, to be replaced by Trump, a man Obama had stridently argued poses a dire threat to the nation’s future. His near-apocalyptic warnings throughout the campaign have cast a continuing shadow over his post-election efforts to reassure Americans anxious about the future.

Indeed, much of what Obama accomplished over the past eight years — from health care overhaul and environmental regulations to his nuclear deal with Iran — could potentially be upended by Trump. So even as Obama seeks to define what his presidency meant for America, his legacy remains in question.

Even as Obama said farewell to the nation — in a televised speech of just under an hour — the anxiety felt by many Americans about the future was palpable, and not only in the Chicago convention center where he stood in front of a giant presidential seal. The political world was reeling from new revelations about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

Steeped in nostalgia, Obama’s return to Chicago was less a triumphant homecoming and more a bittersweet reunion bringing together Obama loyalists and loyal staffers, many of whom have long since left Obama’s service, moved on to new careers and started families. They came from across the country — some on Air Force One, others on their own — to be present for the last major moment of Obama’s presidency.

Seeking inspiration, Obama’s speechwriters spent weeks poring over Obama’s other momentous speeches, including his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention and his 2008 speech after losing the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton. They also revisited his 2015 address in Selma, Alabama, that both honored America’s exceptionalism and acknowledged its painful history on civil rights.

After returning to Washington, Obama will have less than two weeks before he accompanies Trump in the presidential limousine to the Capitol for the new president’s swearing-in. After nearly a decade in the spotlight, Obama will become a private citizen, an elder statesman at 55. He plans to take some time off, write a book — and immerse himself in a Democratic redistricting campaign.

Moulton faults Trump for delaying VA pick

House Speaker Paul Ryan administers the House oath of office to Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) during a mock swearing in ceremony Jan. 3 on Capitol Hill in Washington.


BOSTON — Congressman Seth Moulton is faulting President-elect Donald Trump for failing to announce a nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The incoming Republican president has nominated appointees to lead most of his Cabinet-level departments and agencies, but has yet to nominate a Veterans Affairs secretary.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who served four tours of duty in Iraq, said the delay shows Trump’s lack of respect for veterans.

Moulton said the delay should come as no surprise from someone he described as “a draft dodger who had five deferments during the Vietnam War.”

Trump has vowed to overhaul the beleaguered agency and has met with prospective hires to run the VA.

Moulton said presidents Barack Obama and George Bush named their VA appointments in the December before their inaugurations.

Boston default speed limit drops to 25 mph

What a year it was

2016 was an eventful year across the North Shore.

By Thor Jourgensen

It was the year a ferry got sunk in Lynn, a dinosaur was saved in Saugus, a laughing man burned his Swampscott home, Revere rejected slot machines and Peabody celebrated its centennial.

With 2016 hours away from ending, North Shore residents and residents in neighboring communities can look back on a year that made people smile, cry, yell and hope for what 2017 will bring.

Vote for your favorite story of 2016

Donald Trump’s climb to the presidency dominated headlines this year, but Lynn’s police chief also made political news as a first-time candidate by being elected Essex County Sheriff. Kevin Coppinger will be sworn in at Lynn City Hall on Jan. 4.

His election came in a year that also saw Lynn City Council President Daniel Cahill elected East Lynn state representative and Thomas Walsh return to the state Legislature as Peabody’s representative.

Saugus’ Kane’s Donuts got into a fight this year with Lincoln Avenue neighborhood homeowners over truck deliveries. But the year ended on an up note with Kane’s announcing plans for a second Saugus location on Route 1 on the same site where developers have vowed to keep Route 1’s iconic orange dinosaur.

Saugus celebrated iconic landmarks in 2016 and Lynn lost two of the city’s longtime businesses. Christie’s closed its takeout eatery next to Nahant Rotary, where it had operated for 103 years, and Lucky Strike bowling alley on Buffum Street closed after 79 years in business.

The city also lost ferry service from Blossom Street extension to Boston with a Baker administration decision not to fund water transportation from Lynn for a third year of operation. The decision outraged Lynn legislators and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who earlier in the year announced $4.5 million in federal money available to buy the city its own ferry.

Lynn and Peabody opened new middle schools in 2016 with Lynn students starting classes in Marshall Middle School following spring break and Peabody’s Higgins Middle School opening in September.

Lynn’s bid to build more middle schools to absorb a tidal wave of students in their early teens turned controversial with a plan to site one of the schools on Parkland Avenue. A small group of neighbors and a homeowner potentially facing eminent domain protested the project as city officials sought approval for the middle school plans.

Swampscott pressed forward with plans to convert the Machon School to senior housing and build homes on the Greenwood Avenue former middle school site. Two homes in the town were gutted by a July 3 fire and a Linden Avenue blaze was blamed on the homeowner who, according to a police report, laughed as he watched his ex-wife’s home burn. Authorities charged the man with arson.

Lynn police responded this year to three incidents ending in officer-involved fatal shootings, including a man police said try to carjack a woman in January and a gun-wielding robbery suspect in October. A man who attempted to rob a Lynnway gas station on Nov. 29 was shot by police who were told the suspect was armed.

City councilors focused their attention on the Lynnway during discussions this year about siting medical marijuana dispensaries. Passage of the state referendum legalizing marijuana loomed over the dispensary debate and several firms interested in selling medical marijuana locally have submitted proposals to the city.

Developers unveiled plans for an apartment complex on the Lynnway’s northern end in 2016 even as developers presented Saugus officials with plans for an extended-stay hotel and a combined residential, hotel and commercial development.

Lynn residents tempered their outlooks on potential new Lynnway development with anger over Partner HealthCare’s plans to close Union Hospital and the Lynnway’s garish appearance. City officials said there is little that can be done to clear away the forest of signs fighting for drivers’ attention along the road until new development changes the commercial Lynnway’s character.

Sports gave Lynn residents reasons to be happy in 2016. The stunning end to the English-Classical Thanksgiving game briefly spread Ram running back Marcus Rivera’s name nationwide, including an interview with ESPN. The Lynn Babe Ruth 15s headed to North Dakota with visions of winning the Babe Ruth World Series. They fell short but were embraced upon their return by family and friends.

St. Mary’s enjoyed a banner year with a state championship boys basketball team. The boys hockey team made it to the state final at TD Garden and the football team went to the Division 3A Super Bowl at Gillette.

Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo opposed a proposal to convert a corner of the city into a slots gambling complex. Residents defeated a referendum on the proposal and a similar statewide referendum met with defeat.

In Peabody, residents capped off renovations to the city’s center with a centennial celebration that continues into next week. Nahant residents remembered how the town came together to launch the home-made vessel “Valiant” while Lynnfield and Marblehead residents discussed plans to build a new library and continue the Gerry School’s more-than-century-long service to the town.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at

Election reverberates in Lynn

People form a circle and put their arms around each other as Rabbi Margie Klein Rankin sings a  song during a meeting for the  Essex County Community Organization, which focused on healing after the election.


LYNN — A diverse crowd turned out to begin the process of post-election healing at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Thursday night.

What was originally planned as a strategy meeting for the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) primarily became a forum for people to gather and discuss their thoughts about a presidential election that surprised many voters.

“We want to create space for our hearts to feel, for our heads to think through and for our hands and our feet to get ready to work,” said Alexandra Pineros Shields, director of ECCO. “We are relatives — those in the red states and those in the blue states.”  

After a brief prayer, attendees broke into small groups to talk about the impact of the election and to connect with other members of the community.

“Where I am most profoundly hearing pain is from immigrants,” said Rev. Jane Gould of St. Stephen’s, who also cited the LGBTQ community and women as groups who have expressed distress over the election of Republican Donald Trump to the presidency.  

“If you happen to be a minority, every single day you have to fight,” said Lynn resident Ahmadou Balde. “As a Muslim guy, it’s inconceivable. Knowing that I’m working every day with people who feel this way makes me very uncomfortable.”

“Women are equal people, they’re equal beings,” said Rev. Andre Bennett of Zion Baptist Church, who has five sisters. “They’re capable of doing anything that I am.”

Others in the room commented that the results of the election were complex, and that even those with differing opinions still deserved to have their voices heard.

Reactions ranged substantially, but the overall message of the night was a call for respect and unity across the country as well as close to home.

Sue Burgess came out for the evening from Swampscott and said that she had been seeking different perspectives on recent political events.

“What really bothered me the most was the lack of respect,” said Burgess about the Trump campaign. “I hope we can have more respect.”

Others joined the meeting because they simply wanted some companionship after a turbulent past few days.

“I just needed to surround myself with people of faith,” said Clyde Elledge of Marblehead.

Trump stuns in victory for 45th president



WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump claimed his place Wednesday as America’s 45th president, an astonishing victory for the celebrity businessman and political novice who capitalized on voters’ economic anxieties, took advantage of racial tensions and overcame a string of sexual assault allegations on his way to the White House.

Trump’s triumph over Hillary Clinton, not declared until well after midnight, will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House. He’ll govern with Congress fully under Republican control and lead a country deeply divided by his rancorous campaign against Clinton. He faces fractures within his own party, too, given the numerous Republicans who either tepidly supported his nomination or never backed him at all.

As he claimed victory, Trump urged Americans to “come together as one united people.”

Clinton, who hoped to become the nation’s first female president, called her Republican rival to concede but did not plan to speak publicly until Wednesday morning.

President Barack Obama invited Trump to meet with him at the White House on Thursday to discuss transition, and the White House said the president planned to address the election results in a statement Wednesday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama called Trump to congratulate him and also called Clinton to convey his admiration for the “strong campaign she waged throughout the country.”

The White House said Obama’s televised statement Wednesday would focus on “what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season.”

Trump, who spent much of the campaign urging his supporters on as they chanted “lock her up,” said the nation owed Clinton “a major debt of gratitude” for her years of public service. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Obama and Trump had “a very nice talk” when the president called to congratulate him in the early hours Wednesday.

The Republican blasted through Democrats’ longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn’t voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, including Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others.

Global stock markets and U.S. stock futures plunged, but later recovered somewhat, reflecting investor concern over what a Trump presidency might mean.

A New York real estate developer who lives in a sparkling Manhattan high-rise, Trump forged a striking connection with white, working class Americans who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of the problems plaguing many Americans and tapped into fears of terrorism emanating at home and abroad.

GOP Senate candidates fended off Democratic challengers in key states, including North Carolina, Indiana and Wisconsin. Republicans also maintained their grip on the House.

Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a shift to the right that would last for decades.

Trump has pledged to usher in sweeping changes to U.S. foreign policy, including building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and suspending immigration from countries with terrorism ties. He’s also praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoken of building a better relationship with Moscow, worrying some in his own party who fear he’ll go easy on Putin’s provocations.

Putin sent him a telegram of congratulations early Wednesday.

Trump upended years of political convention on his way to the White House, leveling harshly personal insults against his rivals, deeming Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, and vowing to temporarily suspend Muslim immigration to the U.S. He never released his tax returns, breaking with decades of campaign tradition, and eschewed the kind of robust data and field efforts that helped Obama win two terms in the White House, relying instead on his large, free-wheeling rallies to energize supporters. His campaign was frequently in chaos, and he cycled through three campaign managers.

Conway, his final campaign manager, touted the team’s accomplishments as the final results rolled in, writing on Twitter that “rally crowds matter” and “we expanded the map.”

Clinton spent months warning voters that Trump was unfit and unqualified to be president. But the former senator and secretary of state struggled to articulate a clear rationale for her own candidacy.

She faced persistent questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. Those troubles flared anew late in the race, when FBI Director James Comey announced a review of new emails from her tenure at the State Department. On Sunday, just two days before Election Day, Comey said there was nothing in the material to warrant criminal charges against Clinton.

Trump will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture.

Exit polls underscored the fractures: Women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat.

Doug Ratliff, a 67-year-old businessman from Richlands, Virginia, said Trump’s election was one of the happiest days of his life.

“This county has had no hope,” said Ratliff, who owns strip malls in an area badly beaten by the collapse of the coal industry. “Things will change. I know he’s not going to be perfect. But he’s got a heart. And he gives people hope.”

The Republican Party’s tortured relationship with its nominee was evident right to the end. Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush declined to back Trump, instead selecting “none of the above” when they voted for president, according to spokesman Freddy Ford.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a reluctant Trump supporter, called the businessman earlier in the evening to congratulate him, according to a Ryan spokeswoman. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the American people “have chosen a new direction for our nation.”

Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey, Jonathan Lemire, Lisa Lerer and Jill Colvin and AP Polling Director Emily Swanson contributed to this report.

Archer, Leach make independent runs

Mark Archer is a Lynn native and retired Massachusetts State Trooper who is currently practicing law.


In addition to the Republican and Democratic nominees, two Independent candidates are looking to become the next Essex County Sheriff.

Mark Archer is a Lynn native and retired Massachusetts State Trooper who is currently practicing law.

After graduating from Lynn Tech in 1980, he joined the plumbers’ union and then started his own plumbing business in Lynn in 1985. He joined the State Police in 1988, working as a road trooper and then an undercover narcotics officer. While in the State Police, he earned a law degree.

Archer said he will bring his unique experience to bring change to the sheriff’s department.

“The House of Corrections lacks accountability and transparency,” Archer said. “The time for change is now, and I bring 20 years of experience in all aspects of law enforcement to the House of Corrections.”

Currently, Archer said people are being warehoused in the system without proper contact with loved ones and without programs and services to help reduce recidivism.

Archer is endorsed by the State Police Association of Massachusetts, the Commissioners and Officers of the Massachusetts State Police, former DEA agent and Democratic sheriff candidate Paul L.D. Russell, the retired deputy superintendent of the Middleton House of Corrections Jerry Robito and the New England Police Benevolent Association.

Kevin Leach, a retired county commissioner and Northeastern University graduate, said he’s qualified to be sheriff because he has 40 years of criminal justice and law enforcement experience that started with being a police officer in 1975.

Most recently he served as foreman of the Essex County Grand Jury.

“That’s where we indict the murderers, the rapists and the robbers,” he said.  

As Essex County Commissioner, Leach oversaw a $50 million county budget, supervised and appointed department heads, negotiated and approved collective bargaining agreements with labor unions and worked with legislators, mayors and judges on many issues.

While Leach said he likes Coppinger, one of his opponents, and has few disagreements with the Lynn law enforcement officer, voters should vote for him.

“Kevin’s a good man, I have nothing bad to say about him,” he said. “But I’m an Independent and I have more experience with the county system and I have actual sheriff’s office experience as deputy sheriff superintendent.”

Leach said he supports Question 4, the legalization of recreational use of marijuana, and won’t vote for Hillary Clinton. He hasn’t decided on whether to vote for Donald Trump.

“I will make that decision in the voting booth,” he said.

Archer said he intends to work closely with the employees of the sheriff’s office to set a positive tone, boost and maintain morale, and establish a high level of trust. He said he plans to build on the strengths and achievements of the current sheriff and department, but will also aim to evaluate the effectiveness of all of the services that the department provides to the county.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at Adam Swift can be reached at

Nov. 8 comes early

Mary Jane Mulholland takes advantage of the first day of early voting at Lynn City Hall Monday. Item photo by Owen O’Rourke.

By Gayla Cawley

LYNN — Early voting kicked off in Massachusetts for the first time on Monday, bringing 289 people to the polls in Lynn.

Massachusetts joins more than 30 other states voting early this year.

The top reason Lynn voters cited for taking advantage of early voting, which runs until Nov. 4, was avoiding long lines they might encounter on Nov. 8 for Election Day.

They also cited an eagerness to vote for presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, in what has been a contentious race.

“It’s a first time thing,” said Mary Jane Mulholland, who voted Monday afternoon. “I’m eager to vote for my candidate, Hillary. She’s been around for a long time and so have I … I trust her to do the right thing.”

Lynn was one of about 170 municipalities recognized by the Massachusetts Election Modernization Coalition, with a silver medal for its early voting. State Rep. and City Council President Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn) said he will be presenting the award to City Clerk Mary Audley, who runs the election, at tonight’s city council meeting.

To receive the silver medal, the city had to have at least one early voting site for every 35,000 residents, at least one weeknight of voting per week and at least four hours of weekend time for people to cast their ballots prior to Election Day.

The coalition awarded 34 municipalities with the gold medal, for those cities and towns offering one voting site for every 35,000 people, at least two evenings of weeknight voting per week and at least six hours of weekend time.

In Lynn, early voters can cast their ballot at City Hall on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Voting will take place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

At Lynn Museum, residents can cast their ballots on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Paul and Jean LeBrasseur voted at City Hall on Monday, saying they wanted to avoid the lines. Paul LeBrasseur said he saw an opportunity to cast his ballot early, rather than get up early on Election Day and vote before work.

Janet McGann agreed, saying she came for the convenience and to avoid the lines she would encounter in two weeks.

“This is great,” she said. “This is great for the people. I wanted to come out. I’ve never been in an election like this one. This is really unreal.”

George Banos said he voted early because he’s going to be out of town on Election Day. He was a civics and history teacher for 34 years and said he is glad he is retired because the election would be difficult to cover with students this year. He said he always tried to keep kids focused on the issues.

“I’m just so glad that I don’t have to teach about that this year because of the way the election process has been so far,” he said.

Rick Borten said it’s great to be able to vote early. He voted for Clinton because he said he feels very strongly and negatively about Trump. He said he finds his policy and aggressive nature scary, but was a little wistful about having to find something else to watch after the election ends.

“It’s absolutely been unbelievable,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do for entertainment after this.”

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

Final debate draws a crowd in Lynn

A crowd watches the third and final Presidential debate, hosted by U.S. Rep Seth Moulton, at Trio’s Mexican Grill on Wednesday (Photo by Paula Muller)

By Gayla Cawley

LYNN — Many of the people who headed to Trio’s Mexican Grill for the third presidential debate watch party, hosted by U.S. Rep Seth Moulton (D-MA) and local Democrats, are decided voters, but appreciated a stronger focus on the issues between the two candidates.

Before the debate, Moulton said it should not be forgotten that voters have the opportunity to elect the first female president of the United States, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

“I don’t think I need to go through all the reasons why Donald Trump (the Republican nominee) is dangerous for this country, why he’s fundamentally un-American, why he doesn’t know anything about the Constitution of the United States or the values that make us who we are,” Moulton said. “He is exploiting our differences. He is scapegoating Muslims, he is attacking minorities and he lies every single day in what he says. That’s not someone we can look up to as a leader. That’s not someone our troops can trust as commander-in-chief and it’s certainly not someone who is going to make a stronger America.

“When Hillary Clinton talks about being stronger together, that’s not just a campaign slogan,” he continued. “That’s fundamentally who we are as Americans. And she understands that because she’s been in public service her entire life. In fact, some people say there hasn’t been a more qualified person to run for president since maybe Dwight Eisenhower and I agree with that.”

Rodney Raposa, a Swampscott resident, said he’s a liberal so he supports Clinton. He said she has more substance in her responses than Trump, when discussing policy.

“Sometimes I feel Donald Trump flails his responses around,” Raposa said. “I kind of get confused sometimes of what he actually stands for … I don’t think he has a lot of hardcore stances when it comes to a lot of things.”

The debate watch party was attended by mostly Democrats and Clinton supporters. Watching from other locations were Alexander “Sandy” Tennant, former executive director of the MassGOP, and Amy Carnevale, a Marblehead resident who serves on the Republican State Committee.

“I’ve been impressed in this debate by the focus on the issues, at least to start the debate,” said Carnevale. “I would say I think Donald Trump has come out better rehearsed on some of the issues than he has on past debates, sticking to his message a little bit better than he has in the past.”

Carnevale, who was a delegate for Trump at the Republican National Convention, where he was selected as the party’s nominee in July, said that she agreed with him on his stance on the kind of Supreme Court justice who should replace the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia, a long-time conservative judge who died last February.

Trump said he has a list of 20 potential candidates, and said he would nominate a judge who strictly interprets the Constitution as the country’s founders wrote it.

Clinton said the Supreme Court should represent all of the United States and that the Senate has not done its job by confirming the nominee President Barack Obama set forward, Judge Merrick Garland.

“I think most conservatives agree that the Constitution should be strictly interpreted,” said Carnevale.

Carnevale said Trump’s discussion on the United States/Mexico border was strong.

“I thought it was really strong how Donald Trump pointed out that one of the issues that’s important to come out of border security is controlling the drug trade from Mexico,” she said.

Tennant, a Swampscott resident, said it was an outrage that Clinton seemed to suggest that she accepts abortion at all stages of pregnancy. He also said that while the country is $19 trillion in debt, the Clintons have vastly increased their personal wealth since President Bill Clinton was in office.

Elina Mihalakis, a Lynn resident, said Clinton is more knowledgeable.

“She has been in politics for so many years and she knows what she’s talking about,” she said.

Mihalakis said Trump only tries to appeal to certain segments of the population by focusing on issues like the second amendment, the right to bear arms.

Sally Palmer, a Topsfield resident and Lynn native, said while watching the debate that she was feeling that Clinton is the most sensible candidate and believes in all of her statements for what’s best for the country.

“I’m confident that she’ll steer us in the right direction,” Palmer said.

Palmer added that it appeared to her that Trump was trying very hard to keep restraint in what he wanted to say early on. She said it was his last shot in gaining the support of people who stand behind him, mentioning the “Access Hollywood” video that came out recently, where Trump bragged to then-host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women, and the subsequent women who have come forward accusing him of inappropriately touching them.

Gene Record, a Marblehead resident, said the debate was much more reasoned, with no yelling and shouting like previous ones.

“They’re talking about issues, which is really good,” he said.
Record identifies as a centrist, or someone who has moderate political views, and said he decides which party to vote for based on who he agrees with more on policy. He wouldn’t say his mind is made up, but he is leaning away from one candidate.

“I don’t feel I could vote for someone as volatile and unrepresentative of the United States as Donald Trump,” he said.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

Voter registration ‘has been unbelievable’

By Thomas Grillo

LYNN — With less than four weeks until one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent memory, the North Shore has seen record numbers of people register to vote.

The total number of voters since the last presidential race has swelled by the thousands in the eight communities covered by The Item.

As of this week, 12,822 new voters have registered in Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Peabody, Revere, Saugus and Swampscott, bringing the total to 173,829.

In Lynn, Karen Richard in the City Clerk’s office said as of this week, the city has 51,795 eligible voters, that’s up nearly 4 percent from 49,851 in the 2012 race for president.The region’s city clerks say the high turnout is likely due to the increased interest in this year’s election that pits Democrat Hillary Clinton against Republican Donald Trump.The deadline for registration in Massachusetts is Oct. 19 to vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election. Also new this year is early voting, as voters will be able to cast their ballots before Election Day, starting on Monday, Oct. 24.

“In my dozen years of experience, every presidential election is like this, people want to vote for the next president,” she said. “I will say this year’s race is getting even more attention.”

In Saugus, the latest number of registered voters has reached 18,644, up from 13,736 at the close of 2012, according to Ellen Schena, town clerk. The growth over the four-year period is 4,908 voters or nearly 36 percent.

“Oh my God, I have to tell you voter registration in Saugus has been unbelievable,” said Schena. “Last Monday and Tuesday alone, 250 registered online and they’re still coming in fast and furious.”

Based on in-person registrations, Schena said she can’t predict who will win the race for the White House.

“It’s evenly split between the two candidates based on the people who come in and make comments about who they will vote for,” she said. “We had a 91-year-old woman who said she had not voted in 40 years and wanted to be a part of this election.”

Robin Michaud, town clerk in Marblehead, reported 15,699 registered voters this week, up from 15,392 four years ago.

“It’s a modest increase,” she said. “But that number is changing daily and we still have a few days to go.”

In Peabody, the number of new voters has increased by more than 4 percent in the past four years to 37,400. City Clerk Timothy Spanos said in the last month alone, 758 new voters have registered and they’re still coming in.

“There’s been a spike from the governor’s race two years ago and four years since the presidential election,” he said. “It’s very busy now and has been for the last month. We are processing about 50 new voters every day either through the Registry of Motor Vehicles, online and mail-ins. There’s obviously more interest this year with the presidential election.”

In Revere, where voters will also be asked whether to approve a slots parlor next week, there are 27,727 voters, up from 26,204 in 2012, a nearly 6 percent hike.

“We are straight out,” said Diane R. Colella, election commissioner.

Lynnfield has seen among the largest increase as the number of voters reached 9,262 this week, up from 6,932 four years ago, according to City Clerk Trudy Reid.

“I’m seeing huge increases in voter registration online and through the Registry of Motor Vehicles. I am amazed,” she said.

“We’re precessing lots of new registrations and they are not just people who are turning 18.”

In Nahant, the number of new voters this year increased modestly to 2,684, up from 2,547 two years ago, and 2,512 in 2012, according to City Clerk Peggy Barile. That’s 172 new voters or a nearly 7 percent hike.

“In the last month, we’ve seen 70 new voters and that’s a lot for a small town,” said Barile. “We are very busy, that’s for sure, I’m thankful these elections are only every four years.”

In Swampscott, there are 10,618 registered voters today, up from 9,979 two years ago and 9,684 in 2012, a nearly 10 percent increase.

“I will be glad when it’s over,” said Susan Duplin, town clerk.  “We have been registering about two dozen people online a day and that doesn’t include the number of new voters who walk in to register.”

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Stop if you’ve heard this before: Trump says something offensive

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses during a meeting with members of the National Border Patrol Council at Trump Tower, Friday. (Photo from Associated Press)

By Gayla Cawley

Republican leaders across the country have chastised their party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, after a decade-old video surfaced over the weekend depicting him making lewd comments about women. Locally, the feeling among GOP officials is the same.

“As a female and as a mother, I found his comments disturbing,” said Amy Carnevale, a Marblehead resident who serves on the Republican State Committee. “That being said, I continue to support the public policies advocated by Donald Trump. I continue to support his candidacy.”

Carnevale was a delegate for Trump at the Republican National Convention, where he was selected as the party’s nominee in July.

In the 2005 video obtained by the Washington Post, Trump can be heard talking with Billy Bush, the then-host of Access Hollywood, about how he made a move on a married woman, using vulgar language. He also brags about his ability to force himself on women sexually, adding that he can grab them by the genitals, after saying he’s popping a breath mint in case he starts kissing an actress waiting for him outside the bus he’s on.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said in the video.

For the second presidential debate on Sunday, Carnevale said she would like to see him point out the weaknesses of Clinton, such as her trustworthiness and decision making while she served as secretary of state. When it comes down to a choice between Trump and Clinton on Nov. 8, she said voters are more likely to side with his policy.

State Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) said Trump’s comments took him by surprise.  

“I was very disheartened by what he had to say because I have four generations of women that I represent, my mother, wife, one daughter and four granddaughters,” said State Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus).  

Wong said he would have liked to see a better campaign on both sides, rather than witnessing Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton constantly taking shots at one another. He would like to see both candidates work on what they’re going to do for the country and talk about what they would be bringing to the table.

Jennifer Migliore, a Democrat running against Wong for state representative, said “there is no place for defaming, derogatory remarks aimed towards women.”

Alexander “Sandy” Tennant, a Swampscott resident and former executive director of the MassGOP, said the words Trump used were terrible, but he found it amazing that the media is focusing on that and saying nothing about former President Bill Clinton’s history of sexual abuse. He said Clinton was charged with doing inappropriate things to women and Hillary Clinton, instead of defending them, attacked those women.

“I thought the comments were very inappropriate, but they were made 11 years ago,” Tennant said.

No woman should be talked about that way, Tennant said, but it’s one thing to talk about it and another thing to do those acts, he added, alluding to the former president.

At Sunday’s debate, Tennant said he was hoping for an apology from Trump. In the wake of the comments, some Republican elected officials across the country have withdrawn their support for Trump, with others going further to urge that he drop out of the race.

“Absolutely not,” said Tennant when asked if Trump should drop out. “That would be basically handing over the election to Hillary Clinton.”

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

Lynn viewers debate Hillary vs. Trump

Chad Garner watches Monday night’s debate at the Olde Tyme Italian Restaurant in Lynn. Photo by Paula Muller

By Bridget Turcotte

LYNN — The battle lines were already drawn between Democrats and Republicans prior to Monday’s presidential debate and the first faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did little to blur them.

From Democrats gathered for a debate watching party at Old Tyme Italian Cuisine to area Republicans tuning into the fireworks, viewers agreed on one point.

“This is must-see TV,” said James Harrington, Saugus Republican Town Committee chairman. “It probably set a record for viewership. You have two candidates that just provoke very strong reactions from people. I just can’t fathom the two choices that we have. Would you rather have an idiot working for you or a genius working against you? There’s no real good answer in this and I really feel bad for this country.”

Frances Noone of Lynn tuned into the debate hoping it would shed light on Clinton, her choice for president.

“I really hope people can see the person I see, the Hillary Clinton I see,” said Noone, who added it is “disturbing” that Trump has as many supporters as he does.

“Some of the things he says are so blatantly racist,” she said. “I can’t see having a person of that type in the office.”

Harrington felt Trump maintained his composure throughout the debate. Halfway through, he questioned whether Clinton would remain calm, adding that Trump “didn’t do himself any favors interrupting early on.”

“I don’t think this debate is really going to settle anything,” he said. “It may ease some people’s fears that he’s a crazy guy. He’s far more under control and considerate.”

He was disappointed that Clinton “completely evaded the email issue” after Trump agreed to release his taxes should she release her emails.

Democrat Drew Russo and Republican state Rep. Donald Wong are well-versed in politics. Both said Monday’s debate had the chance to play a defining role in helping voters make up their minds.

“I think this debate will clarify all of the stances that each of the opponents have,” Wong said. “It will give people a better opportunity to choose who they really think is the right person.”

Russo sat down in front of Old Tyme’s television set ready to see a sharp contrast in personalities on display.

“So many people are anticipating seeing these two personalities,” said Russo, who has been a Clinton supporter since her first campaign for president in 2008 when she faced then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Wong said interest in Monday’s debate went beyond the norm he can remember for a presidential debate. That interest spilled over to businesses, including furniture retail chain Jordan’s Furniture which closed all locations early Monday so that employees and customers could tune in.

“By watching the debate live, it will give people the opportunity to make an educated decision and cast a responsible vote,” said Eliot Tatelman, president and CEO in a statement. “The world is changing. It is important that voters know who and what they are voting for by educating themselves.”

The debate also attracted previously unengaged voters like Maxwell Hooley of Lynn to Old Tyme.

“I’m just surprised they haven’t been stopped from yelling at each other,” Hooley said while watching the debate. “Donald is taking advantage of the fact that he lies so consistently, they can’t keep up on it. People don’t expect it. People expect a level of morality.”

Noone called Clinton’s plans are sustainable and a “solid, consistent effort,” while Trump’s plans are “a repeat plan of trickle down economy, which was an utter failure.”

But Harrington said Americans want to vote for someone “who makes them feel safe and offers a plan.”

“We don’t feel comfortable in our own country anymore,” he said, “A bomb exploded in New York City last weekend. There were bombs at the Boston Marathon. You go anywhere, Fort Hood, London. It just goes on and on.”

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

Judgement day at Salem State

By Gayla Cawley

SALEM — The future of the Supreme Court is in the hands of the next president.

That was the theme of a lecture given by retired U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner at Salem State University on Thursday.

Gertner, a Yale Law School graduate, was appointed to the federal bench of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts by President Bill Clinton in 1994. She retired in 2011 to teach at Harvard Law School. In 2008, she became only the second woman to receive the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg was the first.

Justice Antonin Scalia, a long-time conservative judge, died last February at 79, leaving a vacancy on the nine-member bench that has not been filled. Senate Republican leaders have refused to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, announcing that there would be no vote on Scalia’s replacement until the nation’s next leader, Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump, is elected.

Three of the remaining eight justices are in their 70s and 80s — Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer — meaning that along with Scalia, four justices will likely be replaced in the next presidential administration, Gertner said.

“It’s hard to imagine an election that’s more significant than this one, in terms of the United States Supreme Court,” she said. “Everything you care about…could well be in the balance over the next couple of years. The next president really changes the court.”

Recent major Supreme Court decisions, such as ones surrounding the Affordable Care Act, discrimination, throwing out a life sentence without parole for people under 18, gay marriage and gun control, have been split between the justices, and could be affected with the turnover on the bench in the next administration, Gertner said. The 5-4 decision to allow same-sex marriage is completely at risk when three of the majority members for that vote are replaced, she added.

Gertner said the court is polarized in a way that it has never been before, with the alliances becoming much more predictable in the past 10 to 15 years. In theory, the Supreme Court is supposed to be independent and non-political, she said, but it’s been political since the beginning. Judges have become known for being appointed by either Democratic or Republican presidents. In the United States, political debates often turn into legal debates, she added.

“Otherwise, we fight our battles in court,” she said. “We look to the Supreme Court to resolve issues that are not being resolved in our political institution.”

The Supreme Court is usually not an issue in an election, but it has become one during this particular presidential race, Gertner said.

Tristan Smith, 20, a junior at Salem State University and Swampscott resident, said the discussion provided a unique perspective from a federal judge.

“I think it’s a piece of the election people aren’t thinking about,” he said.

Kalen O’Hare, 19, a sophomore at Salem State and Lynn resident, said the pending replacement of Scalia drew her interest.

“I think that that Supreme Court and the lack of action going on right now is extremely important,” she said.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

Where have all the Republicans gone?

Donald Trump may be the national electoral lightning rod and the boon or bane of the Republican party, but the oasis of Republican party politics this primary week in Massachusetts is the North Shore and, specifically, the race for Essex Sheriff.

No fewer than five candidates will compete for votes on Thursday to become the Republican finalist facing off in the Nov. 8 final election with the Democrat nominated on Thursday and two unenrolled candidates.

Five candidates on the Republican ticket for sheriff in Essex County is almost twice the number fielded in any other GOP race across the state. One of those candidates and the only woman running for sheriff is Peabody political stalwart Anne Manning-Martin. A corrections professional, Manning-Martin has more political experience than the 10 men running for sheriff.

Jim Jajuga Jr. is a well-known “up county” political name. But the rest of the Republicans, like most of the Democratic candidates, are law enforcement professionals who didn’t have much use for running for election until Sheriff Frank Cousins decided to retire.

Interestingly, Cousins was a state Republican leading light through the first 10 years of his tenure. Easy going and bright, Cousins has made the sheriff’s job look easy and speculation about Republican politics in the era of Republican governors in the 1990s inevitably turned to Cousins’ future political prospects.

He never took the dive into political waters to run for the 6th Congressional District even though campaigning across Essex County is basically a political blueprint for mounting a congressional race.

Even though Trump won the Republican presidential primary in March in Massachusetts, his larger-than-life political presence failed to translate into Republicans interested in striding onto the political stage and seeking out a seat in county office or the General Court.

Somehow Gov. Baker’s popularity has not been able to plant the seeds necessary to grow Republican candidates capable of challenging local legislators like state reps Brendan Crighton or Daniel Cahill or U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.

In their failed bids to scare up sufficient candidates to run this year, Republican leaders can take some solace in the fact that Daniel Fishman of Beverly is the United Independent Party’s only candidate running for office in Massachusetts this year.

Police remove Trump Tower climber on 21st floor

A man scales the all-glass face of Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday. The 58-story building is headquarters to the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign.

NEW YORK (AP) — Police have removed a man from the facade of the 58-story Trump Tower in New York City.

Special operations officers could be seen grabbing the unidentified climber into an opened window on the building’s 21st floor Wednesday evening.

After he was hauled into the window onlookers gathered on the streets below the Fifth Avenue tower cheered.

Police say he’s now in custody.

Witnesses say the man started climbing Donald Trump‘s namesake skyscraper at about 4 p.m. He was wearing a backpack and used suction cups, ropes and a harness to slowly climb the building from an outdoor terrace just a few floors up.

The tower is headquarters to the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign and his business empire. He also lives there.

Trump was not in the building.


Hillary inspires grrr and girl power

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gives her thumbs up as she appears on stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Thursday.


Hillary Clinton may become the nation’s first female president, but support from women isn’t a lock.

While some local women say they’re pleased with the Democrats’ historic nominee, not everyone is convinced the 68-year-old former secretary of state can be trusted, prompting the “Hillarys’ Lies Matter” bumper sticker.

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy, a Republican, said she votes for the person, not the party. In this case, she will not support Clinton.

“I think she’s a criminal,” she said. “Setting up her personal email jeopardized the security of the United States.”

While FBI director James Comey said Clinton was “extremely careless” in using a private email server and raised questions about her judgment, the department recommended no criminal charges against her.

Emma Kane, 19, a Swampscott resident, said she believes the country could benefit from a female president, but doesn’t know if Clinton is the right woman for the job.

“I don’t know a lot about her,” Kane said. “All I’ve heard is that people say she’s a liar.”

Still, lots of women see Clinton as role model for her decades of work on behalf of children and families while others are caught up in the history that a Clinton presidency would bring.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Carol DiMento, an attorney. “It’s historic.”

She said Clinton has worked a lifetime to make the lives of everyone better. She also respects that Clinton didn’t give up after failing to become the nominee in 2008, when Barack Obama was chosen. She added that the emails were a mistake, but said Americans can’t look at yesterday and must look to the future.

Busayna Abdelkarim, 20, of Lynn, said she wants Clinton to win.

“She’s going to encourage all the women that they can do the same thing,” she said.

Raisa Ferreras, 21, of Lynn, said Clinton will do a better job than Trump, and the country needs someone who understands that our country is comprised of people from all over the world, not just one specific place.

Sydney Pierce, a member of the Swampscott Democratic Committee, said she supports Clinton, citing her lifetime of public service working for healthcare and for the betterment of people, particularly women and children.

Pierce said the support Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, is getting shows the difficulty people have accepting a potential female president. She said it baffles her that people might consider him over Clinton. The emails are “blown way out of proportion,” she said, adding that Clinton is being held to a way higher standard than every man has ever been held to.

“People are having a really hard time imagining a woman in charge of the United States, the greatest nation in the world,” Pierce said.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

Bill shows Hillary’s softer side


The last thing I expected to find when I joined the Massachusetts delegation for breakfast this morning was Bernie Sanders less than 10 feet away from where I enjoyed my sausage and eggs. After a long, celebratory evening that reveled in the nomination of the first woman nominee of a major political party for president of the U.S., his surprise visit came less than 18 hours after his groundbreaking run for the presidency ended. He exhorted all of us to ensure Hillary Clinton’s election and the defeat of Donald Trump in November. The convention reached a fever pitch of emotion the night before, when Vermont deferred during the roll call only to return at the end so that they could cast their votes for their native son, and turn the microphone over to him to do something extraordinary. He asked the convention chair to suspend the rules and nominate Hillary Clinton by acclamation, using his own superdelegate vote in the process. I can think of few more magnanimous signals for unity than that.

Former President Bill Clinton delivered the evening’s keynote. A highly personal, folksy telling of his life with Hillary Clinton that gave new perspective of her life’s journey. Democrats cannot win in the fall by attacking Donald Trump alone. There is a positive, uplifting story that can be told about our nominee. Who better than our country’s “Explainer-in-Chief” to show us how we can carry that compelling message forward.

The highlight of my evening was having the honor, or good fortune really, of standing alongside my friend Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) as he delivered the votes of our Massachusetts delegation.

There we were, two guys from Lynn and neighbors in Pine Hill who know the joys of hoisting a Guinness after finishing the St. Patrick’s Day Recovery Run at the Hibernian or a morning workout at the YMCA. On this night, we had the privilege of representing our fellow 6th district Democrats in casting our votes for the woman who should be the next president, Hillary Clinton.

What an amazing country we live in that affords two proud guys from Lynn the opportunity to do that.

Philly looks to Trump GOP

Hillary Clinton snapped a selfie with Drew Russo, who will be at the Democratic National Convention in Philly and filing reports for The Item.


LYNN — On the heels of Donald Trump’s coronation in Cleveland, Hillary Clinton delegate Drew Russo is at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where he will be writing a diary for The Daily Item.

Russo, a Lynn resident and executive director of the Lynn Museum & Historical Society, has been a Clinton supporter since her first campaign for president in 2008 when she faced then Sen. Barack Obama.

This time around, Drew said, Clinton is even more qualified to be president.

“At this moment in our history, Hillary has the passion, the experience and the ability to make a phenomenal president of the United States,” he said.

Russo is one of 115 Bay State delegates attending the convention. Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders, 50.3 percent to 48.5 percent in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts. But Sanders won Essex County by 815 votes, beating Clinton with 66,494 votes to her 65,679.

While Russo acknowledged Clinton’s high unfavorability ratings and the fact that a majority of Americans are convinced she lied over the email controversy during her time as secretary of state, she’s still the best choice for president, he said.

“I look at the totality of the work she’s done as senator and  secretary of state,” he said. “It comes down to the choice that we have front of us.”

Clinton will win the popular vote and the electoral college to become president, he said. But it won’t happen easily or if Clinton just runs a negative campaign.

“As Democrats, we can’t win this election on an anti-Trump message alone,” he said. “We have to make a positive case for Hillary Clinton. I don’t think either side can win this thing without offering a positive vision and they will do that.”

Russo may be one of the few delegates who has met Clinton and had a selfie taken with her. In April, he knocked on doors for her in Central Falls, Rhode Island and later attended a rally where they met.

“I asked if I could take a selfie and she said ‘sure’ and she took my phone,” he said. “I told her I was elected as delegate from Massachusetts and that it a real honor. She said how great that was and she thought the convention would be very interesting for all us. I spent 40 seconds talking her. She was engaged, she looked me in the eye and I could tell she was listening. It was one of the more engaging moments I’ve had in the campaign.”

For live updates from the convention, follow @DrewRusso781 and @itemlive.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Latinos finding Common ground

Juan Gonzalez hands out T-shirts at the Viva American Latino Festival announcement at the Lupita Restaurant. Jose Alvarez is behind him.


LYNN — Get ready to party — Latino style — on Lynn Common later this month.

Viva American Latino Festival, a first-of-its-kind celebration, promises to be three hours of entertainment that will include food, music and fun on Saturday, July 30. It’s free and open to all.

“We want everyone to know we are here,” said Jose Alvarez, an American Latino Committee Festival member and native of El Salvador. “It’s important because we have to let everyone know about our culture and share it with our neighbors.”

Hispanics comprise nearly a third of Lynn’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and their numbers are growing. Many Latino leaders say while minorities tend to stick together based on where they came from, the time has come to bring everyone together.

Michelle Guzman, one of the organizers, said the goal of the afternoon event is for Latinos to connect with the broader community and to be more active locally.

She said the idea for the afternoon celebration is to get everyone out of their comfort zone and make new friends with people of all kinds in the city.

“It’s about being open, even for some people who may feel uncomfortable,” she said. “But everyone loves music and food, so if you’re hungry come to the festival. Who doesn’t like chicken, black beans and rice? Our festival hopes to build a bridge.”

Juan Gonzalez, 39, a native of Guatemala and founder of the American Latino Committee, works as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company. He acknowledged that these are challenging times for immigrants given that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport millions of illegal immigrants. As a result, he said, Latinos are supporting Hillary Clinton.

“Remember, in the last election President Obama had a substantial Latino vote,” he said. “I think Latinos will vote for Hillary Clinton, we have no other option.”

The festival, which runs from 3-6 p.m. on July 30, comes as the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce and the North Shore Latino Business Association will sponsor a forum titled “The Shift: The Explosive Growth of the Latino Market.”

The event is scheduled for Thursday, July 28 at the Porthole Restaurant on the Lynnway. The forum will feature Alberto Vasallo, CEO of El Mundo Boston, and Elvis Jocol Lara, the company’s digital media director.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Up close with Trump

Sandy Tennant from Day 2 of the 2016 National Republican Convention in Cleveland.


Tuesday was an unbelievable day in Cleveland beginning with breakfast with the Illinois delegation followed by a Scott Brown event where we got in the middle of a Black Lives Matter demonstration. There appeared to be hundreds of demonstrators and almost as many police.

It’s been a very interesting day: A lot of great things happened and Donald Trump was overwhelmingly endorsed. It’s a unified Republican Party now. The speeches last night were riveting. Chris Christie I think stole the show and rocked the whole place. It was great to hear (Ultimate Fighting Championship President) Dana White and his family  talk about Donald Trump as a human being. I think the more people learn about all the great things he’s done to help other people – black, white and Hispanic; everybody – they’re going to learn that he’s a decent man.

We were in the convention center when Donald Trump’s son spoke continuing a theme throughout the day of speaking about Donald personally, including Dana White and Chris Christie.

It’s clear that people on the campaign staff were trying to have people see Donald Trump as someone who really cares about people. There was case after case given today with personal testimonies about how Donald Trump has helped them and will help our country. So it was a great day. A lot of things were going on, and he is the nominee of the party.

Sandy Tennant is the former director of the Massachusetts Republican Party and a GOP strategist.

In Marblehead, Trump towers

Delegate Amy Carnevale holds her daughter, Eliza, who is chewing on her Republican National Committee credential.


Amy Carnevale is packing her bags for a trip to Cleveland.

The Marblehead resident is one of 42 delegates going to the Republican National Convention next week.

During the March Massachusetts primary, Donald Trump bested his Republican opponents with 311,313 votes. John Kasich came in a distant second with 113,783.

“I look forward to supporting Donald Trump as our nominee,” said Carnevale, who serves on the Republican State Committee. “We need a candidate that can appeal to working Americans and I think Donald Trump does that. He’s a candidate that can win in November, and that’s the most important thing for the Republican party.”

Still, Trump has faced criticism from his own party for some statements and actions he’s taken during the campaign. Among them include when he said women who seek abortions should be punished, that Mexico should pay for a wall at the U.S. border and when he mocked the disabled while criticizing reporter Serge Kovaleski’s physical handicap by flailing his arms during a campaign stop.

“I think there’s certainly been statements that Donald Trump could have said better,” she said. “He himself has moderated his position on some of his statements when presented with new information. I think many voters do find the way he speaks appealing. He’s not a traditional politician, which I do think voters respect.”

About 20,000 Bay State Democrats switched to unenrolled so they could vote in the GOP primary, she said.

“That’s a testament to Donald Trump’s appeal in our state and in our nation,” she said. “I think a lot of people will be surprised in states where Republicans have struggled in the past, he will do well. After eight years of President Obama, people do need a strong leader. Donald Trump is a strong contrast to the lack of leadership we’ve seen under President Obama.”

Donald Trump has told fellow Republicans that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his choice to be his vice-presidential running mate and that the announcement was to be made today, a senior GOP official said, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, Trump postponed the announcement following Thursday night’s attack in Nice, France.

Trump has 22 delegates, Kasich 8, Marco Rubio, 8, and Ted Cruz has 4, according to the Massachusetts GOP.

“I’m really excited to attend the convention,” Carnevale said. “I’ll be present for the speeches and activities, vote on the rules package and vote on the platform. Our delegation eventually will vote for the president Thursday night.”

On Trump’s chances against Hillary Clinton?

Carnevale expects him to win.

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

A conventional approach

From left, Andrea and Rep. Brendan Crighton, their son Nathaniel, being held by Beth Garry, and Isaac Bantu at the 7th annual Lynn Democratic Committee picnic. In the background is Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger, a candidate for sheriff.


LYNN — With the Democratic and GOP conventions coming soon, leaders from both parties weighed in on the candidates.

“I’m not prepared to endorse anyone because they’re both horrible candidates,” said John Krol,  chairman of the Lynn Republican City Committee. “It’s like having to choose between Ebola and malaria. That’s how I feel about Clinton and Trump.”

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is “not even a real Republican,” he said. Trump has changed party affiliation five times in the past 25 years, he added.

The Republican National Convention is set for July 18 to 21 in Cleveland while the Democrats will meet a week later from July 25 to 28 in Philadelphia.

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) is a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. He criticized Trump last week for praising Saddam Hussein, the former Iraq dictator. He echoed those sentiments, while also praising Clinton, Sunday at the Lynn Democratic City Committee’s family cookout and food drive at the Lynn Museum & Historical Society.

“I’m excited,” Moulton said. “We have one of the most experienced presidential candidates that America has ever seen. She’s going to win this election, but we’re going to work hard every step of the way. The stakes of this election are very high…On the other hand, we have a racist who admires dictators and will be dangerous for our country and for our troops.”

Still, Trump trounced his GOP opponents in Essex county in the primary with a whopping 43,629 votes. His closest competitor was John Kasich, who trailed with just 14,629 votes.

Stephen Zykofsky represents the third Essex senatorial district for the Republican State Committee, which represents Lynn, Saugus, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Swampscott and Nahant. He said Trump will be nominated in Cleveland.

“Whoever the convention nominates is the individual I will support,” Zykofsky said.

Trump has a “strong chance” of winning the general election in November, he said, because the Democrats will likely nominate Clinton. Clinton’s reputation is “so bad,” and she has “brazenly lied to the American people,” he added.

A U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State yielded no criminal charges. But the U.S. State Department is reopening its internal investigation.

“I can’t see the people supporting her,” Zykofsky said.

He praised Trump as a successful businessman and said his message of unhappiness with the Obama administration will resonate with voters.

In the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders won Essex County by 815 votes, beating Clinton with 66,494 votes to her 65,679.

Democrats took an opposite tack, commending Clinton, while expressing unease about Trump.

That list included Secretary of State William Galvin, and a pledged delegate for Clinton.

“I think, we as a party, have to promote the success of the ticket because obviously the alternative would be very bad for the country: Mr. Trump,” Galvin said.

State Rep. and City Council President Daniel Cahill said he was more focused on Massachusetts and Lynn, but will vote for Clinton.

“She’s the most qualified candidate and I think she’ll be the next president of the United States,” he said.

Lynn Police Chief and candidate for Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger and Drew Russo, vice-chairman of the Democratic City Committee, support Clinton. Russo is also a Clinton delegate. Lynn Democrats Sen. Thomas McGee and Rep. Brendan Crighton are backing Clinton. McGee is a superdelegate for Clinton.

“I’m looking forward to Democrats from all over the country coming together to build a strong Democratic victory in November,” McGee said.

Crighton said there are a lot of Massachusetts Democrats that are enthused about the race.

“We need to make sure everyone is tuning in and staying engaged despite all of the nasty rhetoric surrounding this campaign,” he said.

Lynn Republicans will have their turn to gather on Saturday, when the Lynn Republican City Committee holds its cookout and auction at Krol’s home from 1 to 5 p.m.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley

Peabody ponders polling places

Peabody Town Hall.


PEABODY — To accommodate high voter turnout expected for November’s presidential election, the city is considering opening the new Higgins Middle School as an additional polling place.

City Clerk Timothy Spanos said he expects a 75 percent voter turnout for in Peabody for the general election match-up between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

If approved, the Higgins would be the third polling location in Ward 4. Voters already cast their votes at the Smith Barn on Felton Street and Calvary Baptist Church on Coolidge Road, which may be too small for the number of anticipated voters, according to School Committee member Jarrod Hochman.

The School Committee is expected to take up whether voting will be allowed at district schools at its Tuesday, June 28 meeting.

In order to minimize disruption during the opening of the new school next fall, the Higgins would be used for voting in the presidential election, but not the September primaries.

Even if the School Committee agrees to allow voting in schools, it doesn’t guarantee that every school will be used.

“This is merely a vote on whether there should be an opportunity to use schools as polling places,” said Hochman. “City Council still determines where polling places actually are.”

While Calvary Church might be able to handle the September primaries which draws fewer voters, School Committee member Joseph Amico said the volume for the presidential election will be too high for the building.

“I would like to not just have voting, but an all-day civics lesson for students,” said Amico in support of school voting.

School Committee member Thomas Rossignoll said a separate polling place for the September and November elections would confuse voters.

“As long as there’s a separate entrance and exit, it’s fine,” said Rossignol about voting at the Higgins. “If that’s the case, I’m not strictly opposed to voting in any public building.”

School Committee member Brandi Carpenter questioned whether parking issues have contributed to lower voter turnout at schools in the past.

“It’s not working at the schools,” said Carpenter. “Why would you keep putting it back there?”

Carpenter and Rossignoll addressed potential safety hazards caused by opening schools to the public for the day.

“Having any John Q. Public walk in past classrooms is a danger we don’t need,” said Rossignoll.

The issue of voters potentially damaging the newly installed gymnasium floor at the Higgins, which will be only four weeks old in November, was raised by School Committee member Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne.

“Taxpayers have paid a fortune for that building and I don’t want to damage it,” she said.

Moulton plays Trump card

Seth Moulton.


U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton blasted Donald Trump on Tuesday, charging the presumptive Republican presidential nominee with dishonoring veterans.

“The sacred commitment of honoring our nation’s veterans and their families is being undermined by Donald Trump who constantly disrespects veterans and by Republicans in the House whose policy priorities could seriously undercut veterans’ programs,” said Moulton in a conference call.

Moulton, a Salem Democrat who served in the Iraq War, was joined on the call with three Democratic candidates for Congress in New York, including veterans DuWayne Gregory, Mike Derrick and John Plumb.

Moulton said Trump disparaged Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and all prisoners of war last summer when he told an interviewer “He’s not a war hero … He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”

“He never apologized for those remarks and just a couple of weeks ago, he doubled down on them,” Moulton said.

He also attacked Trump on his plan to privatize the Veterans Administration hospitals and the billionaire’s opposition to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, a measure that provides $12 billion in benefits, making the program a target for fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill.

“I get my care from the VA,” Moulton said. “I will be the first to say that the VA needs drastic reforms. But privatization is not the answer. And it’s not just Donald Trump questioning the need for the Post 9/11 bill, House Republicans are eyeing it for cuts on the backs of our veterans and their families. These are promises we have made to the men and women on the front lines and they are promises we must keep.”

On the same day as Moulton’s offensive, Trump released a report that said he contributed $5.6 million to veterans charities.

State Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), Trump’s Massachusetts co-chair, said Trump has raised millions of dollars for vets.

“It’s too bad Cong. Moulton is trying to mischaracterize the facts,” he said. “Since the beginning of the campaign, Mr. Trump has made it clear that he is a big supporter of our troops and veterans and the only candidate of the Republican 17 who boldly criticized the president’s handling of the VA hospitals. If I were Cong. Moulton, I would work on getting a clearer explanation as to why his candidate, Hillary Clinton, dropped the ball and four Americans died in Benghazi on her watch.”

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

City Hall welcomes Alice Cooper’s nightmare

Alice Cooper performs with a live boa constrictor wrapped around his neck during the “Spend the Night with Alice Cooper” tour at the Lynn City Hall Auditorium on Saturday.


LYNN — Fans lost their heads over the musical theatrics of Alice Cooper at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium on Saturday.

“He played a great show in 2013,” said Lee Litif of Cooper’s last appearance in Lynn. “It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.”

The 68-year-old rocker drew applause instantly as he stepped onto the stage wearing his signature thick, black eye makeup and a cape that he quickly tossed aside.

His band started the night with “Long Way To Go” and worked their way through classics like “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Poison” and “I’m Eighteen.”

The dramatic elements of the show began during “Under My Wheels” when a pair of hands reached out of a box onstage to drape a live snake around Cooper’s neck like a scarf.

The serpent was returned to the box when the song ended. But it was only the first of a number of increasingly wild props employed by the band throughout the show.

No one familiar with Cooper’s music could have been too surprised by the giant balloons released into the crowd, or the 10-foot-tall monster puppet that traipsed the stage during “Feed My Frankenstein.”

Born in Detroit as Vincent Damon Furnier, Cooper is known as the godfather of shock rock, a genre characterized by the use of eye-opening, often horror-related imagery and effects to induce a reaction from listeners.

To coincide with the lyrics of “Billion Dollar Babies,” Cooper waved a sword speared with cash over the audience, throwing bills to lucky fans in the front rows.

Other antics included a guillotine that was used to “decapitate” Cooper, whose head was then tossed between gleeful band members.

For the iconic “Ballad of Dwight Fry,” he was hurriedly pinned into a straight jacket and tormented by a dancer dressed as a nurse.

He did lead vocals and played the ringleader while directing the actions of the other musicians.

Guitarist Nita Strauss, formerly of Iron Maiden tribute band The Iron Maidens, and drummer Glen Sobel each took the spotlight to solo.

As the end of the night neared, the band played several cover songs to remember some deceased rockers including Keith Moon, the English drummer for the Who, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie, the British rocker who died earlier this year.

Cooper closed with 1972 hit “Elected” in celebration of the controversial presidential campaign. Two people dressed as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump rushed onto the stage in tattered clothes and threw punches at each other.

Where does the Age of Trump leave local Republicans?

Photo by The Associated Press
In this April 27, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a campaign stop in Indianapolis.

How will the 7.0 earthquake, better known as the 2016 Republican presidential primary process, change and shape local GOP politics?

The saga of Donald Trump’s political ascendancy and march toward the Republican nomination has featured more twists and turns than a good mystery novel. Will he or won’t he be nominated? That’s the question that keeps getting asked and is still months away from getting answered.

Trump has already made his mark in Massachusetts politics with a 49 percent win statewide in the March presidential primary. The blonde billionaire fell just short of winning a Republican majority. But he left his presidential rivals well behind him.

Two-thirds of Lynn Republicans who voted in the March primary chose Trump. These supporters included loyal members of the GOP, unenrolled voters who voted Republican in the primary and Democrats who jumped ship to join the Trump bandwagon.

Depending on who is doing the analyzing, Trump is either redefining, upending or killing the GOP. There is scant evidence to suggest he is giving Republican politics a grassroots injection of enthusiasm. No Republican has shown up to give City Council President Dan Cahill a challenge on his way to becoming East Lynn’s new state representative. In Saugus, Donald Wong, the Lynn delegation’s sole Republican, is facing a double threat from two energetic female Democratic women.

Contrast the relative lack of Republican activity with five years ago, not to mention 25 years ago when Republicans followed party redefiner Newt Gingrich into battle. Republicans emerged from the political woodwork in the early 1990s to run for state office locally and, more notably, at the state level with former Gov. Bill Weld and former Treasurer Joe Malone becoming party standard bearers.

The pair ushered in a decade of Republican domination that saw local candidates run for legislative and county seats without much success. The last interesting Republican runs for office were made by Christopher Dent in Nahant who took a stab at winning the local state senate seat and Wong’s election.

Once outspoken Republicans like Richard Tisei and Alexander Tennant are barely heard during this election season, possibly because Trump is drowning out almost all other voices except the ones belonging to his lead challengers.

Depending on how it all shakes out this summer, it will remain to be seen if local Republicans will surge forth to future election success on the momentum provided Trump and other national Republicans. Or if they will be left to wander through their party’s ruins, picking up the pieces and trying to reconstruct the party of Lincoln and Reagan.

Crashing the Grand Old Party

Republican Ron Brooks, of Swampscott, thinks Trump will be the GOP nominee with party members rallying around him.


SWAMPSCOTT — Far from bringing their party down in flaming ruins, local Republicans said Donald Trump’s run for president is sparking a much-needed debate over the GOP’s future.

Swampscott Republican activists Susan Withrow and Ron Brooks and former congressional candidates William Hudak and Richard Tisei said they see reasons to be optimistic in the middle of the billionaire businessman’s crusade for the presidency.

Hudak, a Saugus attorney, said Trump’s success in primary elections across the country is symbolic of a major upheaval in the Republican party. He said the party’s entrenched establishment is being challenged “by people who are fed up with the same old thing.”

Battle lines dividing Republicans at the national level are also dividing party members across Massachusetts, said Hudak.

“The party needs to grow up. The adults in the room are being crowded out by new emerging adults,” he said.

Brooks, who is active in the Swampscott Republican Town Committee, voted for Cruz in the March 1 Massachusetts primary, while Hudak voted for Trump.

Brooks insists Trump will be the GOP nominee with party members rallying around him.

Withrow, a Swampscott resident temporarily living in California, said party members must follow the rules at the Republican presidential convention in Cleveland and support the candidate who got the most votes.

“If the rules are tossed out, there will be a lot of faith lost in our party,” she said.

Tisei agrees with Withrow and said he will support the Republican presidential nominee. Republicans are not alone in facing a realignment in their party, said Tisei, who ran unsuccessfully in 2014 to represent the 6th Congressional District. He said Democrats are turning their backs on their party’s “socialist trend” even as some Republicans reject the GOP’s conservative wing.

“I subscribe to the theory that Trump is bringing a lot of new people into the party,” Tisei said. “Any time you have someone growing the party, it’s a good thing.”

Brooks acknowledged Trump’s candidacy has been marked by increased tensions in the Republican party but he said that friction has generated new energy and ideas. Withrow said Republicans must move quickly to harness these forces and revive the party.

“The GOP has a real opportunity to grow if it can shake off stagnant thinking, open up somewhat, and be able to adapt to current ideas. Nothing is static, including politics. This presidential cycle is historic, upheaving, and unpleasant. Take a deep breath, keep it civil, obey the rules, but let the party evolve,” she said.

Thor Jourgensen can be reached at

Lynn played Trump card


LYNN — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are poised to secure their party’s presidential nomination as the rival candidates scored victories in Lynn, reflecting results in Massachusetts and most of the Super Tuesday states.

Trump scored 2,491 votes in Lynn — a whopping 63 percent. His nearest rival, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, won just 479 votes or 12 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich followed with 395 votes or 10 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz gathered 384 votes or 9.7 percent and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson netted only 87 votes or 2 percent.

In the Democratic race, Clinton bested Sen. Bernie Sanders with 6,068 votes or 50.8 percent, while the Vermont senator received 5,580 votes or 46.7 percent.

Clinton won Massachusetts and six other states including Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Arkansas. Trump had victories in Massachusetts, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Vermont.

Voters also had the opportunity to elect members to the State Democratic and Republican committees. Bob Fennell, who was unopposed, won state committeeman for the Lynn Democrats, while Stephen Zykofsky bested Amy Carnevale for the city’s Republican committeeman seat. Votes for committee member seats for both parties were cast ward by ward. City Councilor Wayne Lozzi was the top vote getter for the city’s Democrats with 1,306 votes. Zykofsky received the highest number of votes on the Republican side with 432 votes. Both Lozzi and Zykofsky are Ward 1 residents.

A complete list of results in the ward committee races can be found on the city’s website at:

Here’s how the North Shore voted in Tuesday’s primary:

Democratic Primary

Lynn: Clinton 6,068 (50.88%) Sanders 5,580 (46.79%)

Saugus: Sanders 2129 (48.63%) Clinton 2,112 (48.24%)

Swampscott: Clinton 1,913 (53.81%) Sanders 1,590 (44.72%)

Peabody: Clinton 4,986 (50.32%) Sanders 4,534 (45.76%)

Revere: Clinton 3,690 (52.27%) Sanders 3,060 (43.35%)

Lynnfield: Clinton 991 (52.24%) Sanders 859 (45.28%)

Marblehead: Clinton 2,701 (55.06%) Sanders (43.91%)

Nahant: Clinton 498 (50.50%) Sanders 467 (47.36%)

Republican Primary

Lynn: Trump  2,491 (63.05%) Rubio 479 (12.12%) Kasich 395 (10.00%) Cruz 384 (9.72%) Carson 87 (2.20%)

Saugus: Trump 2,512 (68.45%) Rubio 428 (11.66%) Kasich 330 (8.99%) Cruz 259 (7.06%) Carson 58 (1.58%

Swampscott: Trump 824 (45.44%) Kasich 438 (24.15%) Rubio 324 (17.87%) Cruz  129 (7.11%) Carson 30 (1.65%)

Peabody: Trump 4,222 (61.37%) Rubio 921 (13.38%) Kasich 870 (12.64%) Cruz 509 (7.39%) Carson 148 (2.15%)

Revere: Trump 2,280 (72.92%) Rubio 294 (9.40%) Kasich 223 (7.13%) Cruz 205 (6.56%) Carson 45 (1.44%)

Lynnfield: Trump 1,381 (56.06%) Kasich 409 (16.60%) Rubio 391 (15.87%) Cruz 192 (7.79%) Carson 34 (1.38%)

Marblehead: Trump 1,230 (39.74%) Kasich 830 (26.81%) Rubio 696 (22.48%) Cruz 195 (6.30%) Carson 47 (1.51%)

Nahant: Trump 280 (58.33%) Kasich 91 (18.95%) Rubio 57 (11.87%) Cruz (6.25%) Carson 16 (3.33%)


Clinton Trump take Lynn

The results are in, here is how the North Shore voted.

Democratic Primary

Lynn: Clinton 6,068 (50.88%) Sanders 5,580 (46.79%)

Saugus: Sanders 2129 (48.63%) Clinton 2,112 (48.24%)

Swampscott: Clinton 1,913 (53.81%) Sanders 1,590 (44.72%)

Peabody: Clinton 4,986 (50.32%) Sanders 4,534 (45.76%)

Revere: Clinton 3,690 (52.27%) Sanders 3,060 (43.35%)

Lynnfield: Clinton 991 (52.24%) Sanders 859 (45.28%)

Marblehead: Clinton 2,701 (55.06%) Sanders (43.91%)

Nahant: Clinton 498 (50.50%) Sanders 467 (47.36%)


Republican Primary

Lynn: Trump  2,491 (63.05%) Rubio 479 (12.12%) Kasich 395 (10.00%) Cruz 384 (9.72%) Carson 87 (2.20%)

Saugus: Trump 2,512 (68.45%) Rubio 428 (11.66%) Kasich 330 (8.99%) Cruz 259 (7.06%) Carson 58 (1.58%

Swampscott: Trump 824 (45.44%) Kasich 438 (24.15%) Rubio 324 (17.87%) Cruz  129 (7.11%) Carson 30 (1.65%)

Peabody: Trump 4,222 (61.37%) Rubio 921 (13.38%) Kasich 870 (12.64%) Cruz 509 (7.39%) Carson 148 (2.15%)

Revere: Trump 2,280 (72.92%) Rubio 294 (9.40%) Kasich 223 (7.13%) Cruz 205 (6.56%) Carson 45 (1.44%)

Lynnfield: Trump 1,381 (56.06%) Kasich 409 (16.60%) Rubio 391 (15.87%) Cruz 192 (7.79%) Carson 34 (1.38%)

Marblehead: Trump 1,230 (39.74%) Kasich 830 (26.81%) Rubio 696 (22.48%) Cruz 195 (6.30%) Carson 47 (1.51%)

Nahant: Trump 280 (58.33%) Kasich 91 (18.95%) Rubio 57 (11.87%) Cruz (6.25%) Carson 16 (3.33%)

Hillary and Trump have Mass. appeal

Photo By Dominick Reuter/Reuters

By Steve LeBlanc (AP)

BOSTON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump cruised to a commanding victory in Massachusetts Tuesday as Hillary Clinton eked out a narrow win over Bernie Sanders among Bay State Democrats in the presidential primary contests.

Clinton’s win also was a victory for the state’s Democratic Party establishment, most of whom backed her. Sanders had banked on strong support from the state’s college-age voters to help keep his candidacy afloat, but fell just short.

Republican voters gave Trump the win over fellow Republican candidates including Marco Rubio and John Kasich who were vying for a strong second place finish. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson also were on the ballot.

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial totals had Trump with nearly 49 percent of votes compared to 18 percent for Kasich, who was just edging Rubio, also with about 18 percent.

On the Democratic side, unofficial counts had Clinton with more than 50 percent of votes compared to more than 48 percent for Sanders with 91 percent of precincts reporting.

For Republicans, Massachusetts has 42 delegates awarded on a proportional basis. That means multiple candidates likely will receive delegates. All GOP delegates are awarded based on the primary tally.

For Democrats the process is a bit trickier.

Massachusetts has 116 Democratic delegates. Of those, 25 are superdelegates free to back whichever candidate they want. At least 17 already have pledged support to Clinton and one is backing Sanders, according to an Associated Press survey. The remaining 91 delegates are awarded on a proportional basis.

Trump’s landslide victory proved awkward for Republican leaders.

Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Kirsten Hughes released a statement Tuesday congratulating ‘‘all of our Republican candidates on successful and energetic campaigns’’ without mentioning Trump.

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had criticized Trump, saying he doesn’t have the temperament to be president. Baker cast his ballot in his hometown of Swampscott but would only say he didn’t vote for Trump or Cruz.

The voice of independent voters, who can vote in either party primary, echoed loudly.

Preliminary results of the exit poll conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks show nearly half of all independents who pulled Republican ballots broke for Trump. While Clinton led among those who consider themselves Democrats, independent voters who participated in the Democratic primary chose Sanders by about a 2-1 margin.

The day wasn’t without its drama.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he had to remind the Clinton campaign about state election laws after former President Bill Clinton greeted voters at a polling location in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston around 9:35 a.m.

Clinton spoke with voters outside the polling location before heading inside with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Hillary Clinton supporter, and again greeted voters.

State law says no one may solicit a person’s vote within 150 feet of a polling location.

Galvin said Bill Clinton also created a traffic jam outside a New Bedford polling location later in the day when he addressed voters on the street — but voters still were able to cast ballots.

Independent voter Tyler Murphy, a 26-year-old Boston resident who works as a project manager for a construction company, said he voted for Trump, calling the New York businessman the ‘‘wakeup call’’ the country needs.

‘‘I think he is undeniably wrong on a lot of things,’’ Murphy said. ‘‘Ultimately, if we have to elect someone who is borderline crazy to get people to understand what’s going on, then that’s what we have to do.’’

Vivien Gattie, 72, a registered Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in the last two presidential elections, said after voting at Boston City Hall that she reluctantly picked Clinton ‘‘because I think she can win.’’

At 3 p.m., 81,372 voters had cast ballots in the city.

Galvin said that was well ahead of the previous record high in 2008, when 66,539 Boston voters had cast ballots by 3 p.m. during that year’s presidential primary.

By 7 p.m. the number of votes cast in Boston topped 120,000.