Anne Manning-Martin, the Republican nominee for Essex County Sheriff, has been endorsed by Gov. Charlie Baker.
By ADAM SWIFT
PEABODY — Anne Manning-Martin is touting her experience in the world of corrections and as an elected city official in her campaign as the Republican nominee for Essex County Sheriff.
Manning-Martin is squaring off against Democratic nominee Kevin Coppinger, Lynn’s police chief, and independent candidates Mark Archer and Kevin Leach in the race to replace current Sheriff Frank Cousins on Nov. 8.
On the municipal government side, Manning-Martin has served as a councilor-at-large in Peabody for the past nine years. Before that, she was on the school committee for eight years.
Manning-Martin’s experience in corrections stretches back even further, with 13 years working for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department before moving to a management position with the state Department of Corrections a dozen years ago. She is the deputy superintendent of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital correctional facility in Boston.
Experience has become one of the major issues in the race, and Manning-Martin said she is the only candidate with the qualifications to run the sheriff’s department from day one.
“(Coppinger) is touting his experience with the police, because that’s what he knows,” said Manning-Martin. “I’ve worked in corrections for 25 years and this is what I know, and I know his experience is not transferrable to managing prisons.”
She said a police officer’s job is to take offenders off the street and put them in jail, while the sheriff’s job is to provide the offenders with the programming and treatment they need so that when they are released from jail, they will be better than when they went in and less likely to commit crimes.
“I’ve been doing that work, that’s my career,” Manning-Martin said. “I’m not looking to retire. The sheriff’s position is an extremely important public safety position one should aspire to and not retire to.”
Manning-Martin refers to Coppinger’s intent to collect his police pension as well as the sheriff’s salary if he is elected.
“The Lynn police chief has made it clear that he plans to file for retirement after he is elected sheriff, where he will begin to collect his pension of $150,000 annually,” she said. “Although I could do the same and collect my pension when elected sheriff, when I am elected, I will not do that. That is wrong, and flies in the face of the public service I have dedicated 25 years of my career to, and that I am aspiring to continue my career in as sheriff of Essex County.”
During her career, Manning-Martin said she has managed and supervised hundreds of employees, from corrections officers and staff to vendors, volunteers and people working in religious services and educational and treatment programs.
On the issue of budgetary experience, Manning-Martin points out that Coppinger is a department head whose budget is largely at the discretion of the mayor.
“The mayor is responsible for formulating the city’s budget,” she said. “She gives directions to the department heads, and it is through her vision exactly how much is allocated to each department.”
As a city councilor, and before that, a school committee member, Manning-Martin said she has scrutinized, reviewed and approved budgets.
“The role of city officials scrutinizing the budget should not be minimized, they have a direct line to the citizens footing the bill,” she said.
When it comes to those who have endorsed her run, Manning-Martin also makes a distinction between herself and Coppinger.
“The chief claims he wants to take the politics out of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, and yet he calls on Washington insiders and elitists to endorse his candidacy,” said Manning-Martin. Coppinger has been endorsed by both the state’s U.S. senators, Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey. “I find that beyond disingenuous and very telling.”
Manning-Martin has been endorsed by Gov. Charlie Baker, as well as local state legislators such as Brad Hill, state Minority Leader Brad Jones and a host of local selectmen, school committee members and city councilors from across the county, including fellow Peabody City Councilor Jon Turco.
“My endorsements are from real people with real life experience who work for their constituents and know the communities,” she said. “They want someone who has been in the trenches and rolled up their sleeves and fought for them.”
If elected, Manning-Martin said her goals are to work with Baker and the 34 cities and towns in the county to battle the opioid crisis and to provide the communities with the support they need to treat people with substance abuse and mental health issues.
“I will work with the communities that have been hardest hit and provide them with the resources they need to re-incorporate inmates upon release to the community,” she said.
Adam Swift can be reached at [email protected].