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Senator Berry to Deliver Farewell Speech Thursday

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Fred Berry of Peabody will deliver his farewell speech in the Senate Chamber at the State House on Thursday evening.

Retiring state Senator and Tanner City native Fred Berry will deliver his farewell speech on the Senate floor Thursday evening, concluding three straight decades in office.

Beth Mullen, Berry's deputy chief of staff, made the announcement on Wednesday.

Berry, a Democrat from Peabody, serves at the Senate Majority Leader. Mullen said colleagues, friends and family will gather on Thursday to hear Berry deliver his farewell speech at the State House.  

"This will mark the final time that Senator Berry will speak on the Senate floor, concluding his 30-year career in the legislature," Mullen said.

Last week, Berry was one of eight local residents awarded a Distinguished Leadership Award by the North Shore Chamber of Commerce during the chamber's annual dinner at the Danversport Yacht Club.

Before accepting the award, Karen Andreas, publisher of the Salem News and outgoing Chamber president, called Berry a "true leader" who has been "an inspiration to us all."

Berry was also feted by local and state officials, family and friends at a celebratory event in his honor earlier this fall and also at the yacht club.

During his career, Berry has been involved in many local initiatives, from his effort to merge the Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute and North Shore Technical High School with Peabody High vocational programs and create a new state-of-the-art school that is now under construction in Danvers to expanding the North Shore Community College campus in Danvers, where there is a building named after him.

His charitable organization has raised more than $1 million for people in need on the North Shore and he has been a staunch supporter of local food pantries and an advocate for fellow residents with disabilities, supporting organizations such as Northeast Arc.

Berry, 62, was born with cerebral palsy.

After leaving the Senate, Berry will go to work for Work Inc. in Boston, a non-profit that "develops community based employment and other programs for individuals with disabilities."

Berry won his first term in the Senate in 1982, and also served two terms on the Peabody City Council.

Salem City Council President Joan Lovely will fill the 2nd Essex District seat in the Senate starting in January, representing Peabody, Salem, Beverly, Danvers and Topsfield. Berry endorsed Lovely shortly before she won a four-candidate Democratic Party primary in September.

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