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Manning Talks North Shore Unification in Danvers

State Senate candidate Mary Ellen Manning spoke to supporters Thursday night at the Danvers Democratic Town Committee Meeting.

Govenor's Councilor Mary Ellen Manning spoke before a modest crowd at the Danvers Democratic Town Committee meeting on March 22 at the , detailing her plans if elected for State Senate.

Manning hopes to replace veteran state Sen. Fred Berry (D-Peabody), who is retiring this year. His district includes Beverly, Danvers, Peabody, Salem and Topsfield.

Of Berry, Manning said: "No one can fill his shoes, I'll never challenge that." She did say, however, she would look forward to carrying forward initiatives that Berry believed in.

Manning detailed three aspects of her campaign that she vowed to protect if elected: carry forward every initiative that Fred Berry believed she should carry on, protecting the rights of both the mentally and physically disabled and always doing what she believes is right.

"Being a [representative] is a lot like feeding alligators," Manning said she was told by a former state representative. She countered that philosophy, saying, "Instead of fighting for what's left, let's stick together to preserve jobs, get rid of waste, and not push costs on neighboring communities."

Manning noted the concerns from each community: unfunded mandates in Danvers, flooding in Peabody, and education in Salem. "We need to go forward as a unit," she said.

Danvers raised, Manning grew up on Rainbow Terrace, but her family moved to Peabody when she was beginning school. Manning said she was proudly educated in the Peabody public school system, and went on to earn degrees from Brandeis University and Northeastern.

Manning at the Peabody Elks in January.

Also running for State Senate are in Salem and , another longtime Peabody resident.

At the meeting, Manning disputed a rumor presented by one of the committee members, who stated she heard Manning had been in talks with Slattery to back out of the race and instead run for her position in Governor's Council.

Manning said she was happy that it was brought to her attention, but said it was untrue.

"I don't know anything about this," she said. "One thing about politics I find very troubling, is people who don't have anything to run on run on rumors, innuendos and grievances. It's unsettling and it detracts from the intellectual discourse."

Manning went on to speak about the importance of setting priorities, and spending money well. "Making sure public schools, roads and safety is a priority," she said. "And it has the be spent well -- the right way."

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