What's running for office all about? For me, it's about connecting. Connecting with people. Sure, it's about issues. It's also about connecting with how people feel. So, when I was asked by the Patches to blog about the upcoming election for State Senate, I decided to make it personal. This blog will be about what my campaign is all about: connecting.
Peabody...I could write an encyclopedia about how my family history is intertwined with the fabric of Peabody. Being a fifth-generation Peabodyite, there isn't a corner of this city that doesn't generate a family connection: the pre-Depression family leather shop that was on Railroad Avenue, the sidewalks my uncles made as part of the WPA, my mother's athletic awards at PVMHS, the auditorium named after my uncle, the portrait of my dad in the .
My dad and the Carroll School. Bob Manning was the principal there for 26 years, and the Carroll was a second home to us--the teachers, janitors and staff were our second family after our mother died. I learned a lot about education and a lot about life, especially life for the immigrant family. The Thomas Carroll School was the place where every immigrant school child learned English as a second language. Our dad's dedication to the Carroll School has been a great source of family pride.
Lucky for me, running for office gives me the opporuntiy to connect with people in unexpected ways, especially in ways that allow me to reminisce about my mom and dad.
Just last week, I got a phone call on my campaign line from a woman from West Peabody whom I had never met. She and her husband had come across my father's name on a list of unclaimed teacher retirement benefits. How did she have the campaign number? Because she had just received one of 22,000 pieces of campaign literature from my campaign for State Senate.
More importantly, why did she make the call? She wanted to connect with me about my father, how wonderful a man and principal he was, how compassionate, and how missed. We talked for a long time, and I made a new friend.
And I'll get back to her about whether she discovered unclaimed money. When I checked the website, I found the name of another retired Peabody school teacher with unclaimed benefits. She went to high school with my mother, her children went to high school with me, and she was my religious education teacher at . So, I called her daughter to let her know.
The domino effect of connections.
Mary-Ellen Manning is the Governor's Councillor for Peabody and the surrounding towns and is a candidate for State Senate for the open seat being vacated by Senator Fred Berry.
And you can drop by her campaign headquarters at 46 Main St. in Peabody.
To check to see whether someone you know is on the list of unclaimed teacher benefits click here: www.mass.gov/mtrs/2members/22retiree/22unclaimfund.htm.