PEABODY — While there weren’t any real surprises in last Tuesday’s city election, one successful candidate is hoping that his new role as a city councilor will help improve the quality of life for Peabody residents.
Craig Welton, in his first foray into the world of Peabody politics, won the two-man race for the Ward 1 seat vacated by Jon Turco, who grabbed the fifth and final spot in the city councilor-at-large race.
Welton received 77 percent of all votes cast, winning by a comfortable 1,289-385 margin over Russell Doucette.
While this was Welton’s first successful campaign, he is no stranger to the world of politics.
In 2016, he ran in a special election for the Massachusetts House of Representatives Twelfth Essex District seat vacated by Leah Cole, who resigned midterm. Welton’s bid was unsuccessful, losing to Thomas Walsh in the Democratic primary.
The experience nonetheless validated Welton’s desire to get involved.
“It affirmed why I wanted to be more involved in Peabody,” Welton said. “I met so many wonderful people, including Tom (Walsh), who has done a great job as state rep, and I learned so much about the needs in the community.”
Welton, 38, and his wife, Emily, a nurse, are graduates of St. Anselm College. They moved to Peabody from Marblehead a little more than nine years ago and have four children ranging in age from two to nine.
Welton, who spends much of his spare time coaching his kids in youth sports, said Peabody is the perfect place to raise a family.
“The big thing about Peabody is it has that homey, neighborhood-type feel, which I love,” he said. “Where I live, there are lots of young families with lots of kids who take so much pride in the neighborhood. Peabody is a great place to live and work.”
The chief development officer for the Northeast Arc (a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities become full participants in their communities), Welton served three years on the Peabody Conservation Commission before stepping down to run for City Council. Prior to the Arc, he spent 10 years as director of the Best Buddies program.
Welton hopes to hit the ground running after being sworn into office Jan. 4.
“I understand why people are concerned about taxes, but I feel our public services are very good and we get good bang for the buck,” he said. “We are fortunate to have one of the lowest tax rates on the North Shore and are lucky to have a large commercial base. But that rate is already nearly at its cap. We can’t go higher, but we can go wider and bring in new businesses, maybe to Centennial Park, to raise more revenue. Peabody is already very business friendly and you can never have enough revenue.”
Welton said he is also committed to the continuing efforts to improve the downtown area.
“The current administration has been very creative with the revitalization of the downtown area,” he said. “We have so many fun family activities that have really energized that area, and I would like to keep that going to bring more people and families into the city.”