TELL US: What's Your Top Issue in State Senate Race?

You've heard a lot from each of the candidates that will be squaring off in the primary on Sept. 6, so we want to hear from you -- what's this race all about for you?

The state primary is now less than a month away and the race to succeed Sen. Fred Berry is in full swing.

All four Democratic candidates vying for the 2nd Essex District seat have been pounding the campaign trail, shaking hands, holding signs and weighing in on pressing issues within the district and statewide as Sept. 6 nears.

And voters are presented with a wide breadth of experience between the four candidates, only one of which will face Republican Richard Jolitz in November.

Peabody attorney John Slattery is a former state representative and city councilor, fellow attorney Mary-Ellen Manning (who has both Peabody and Salem ties) has spent 11 years on the Governor's Council, Salem's Joan Lovely (also an attorney) is a popular eight-term city councilor and the current president of the Salem council and then there's Edward Carroll of Salem, a retired Essex County deputy sheriff who served one term on the Governor's Council in the 1990s.

Thus far, we've heard a lot of what each candidate has done or thinks on certain issues, so it's time to turn the podium over to you -- the voters of Peabody, Salem, Beverly, Danvers and Topsfield.

We want to hear from you

What's the most important consideration for you going into the polls on Sept. 6? What is this election about for you?

If you haven't decided who you're voting for yet, what do you think will most influence your choice in the coming days?

Weigh in via the comment section below, and as always, we ask that you refrain from personal attacks -- stick to the issues and the candidates.

Lisa Smith August 09, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Is there going to be a debate before the primary? I am honestly not interested in Manning. She continues to do what she has always done on her FB and make nasty comments about people and hope that they stick. She has the same people that ran Fitzgeralds campaign. She is going to end up exactly where Sean did, losing by a large margin. I have not idea what she truly wants to accomplish for our district. I have had Slattery and Lovely come to our neighborhood but of course not Mannings...I guess that will be the same representation if she was elected...If anyone watched "You make the Call" last night you could listen to the anger in Mannings supporters and their inability to listen and accept feedback. I guess the best way to look at all of this is that she will lose this race and will not be on the Governors Council...That is a great day!
Stephen Raymond August 09, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Ethics and the economy. I want to see someone sponsor a bill for mandatory sentencing for corrupt politicians. I also want to see pay and benefits cut and eliminated respectively for our part time legislature.
Saber Walsh August 09, 2012 at 12:19 PM
My biggest issue is with the candidates: all are "more of the same," and it's this kind of "sameness" that has gotten us into this mess. I think it's time to start looking for non-attorneys to step up and start fixing what has become our Statehouse: Disneyland for law practices. Besides that, as much as our pols like to say how safe our area is, it is anything close to that. The "sugary drinks" ban our government has foisted on us is all about its inability or unwillingness to get tough on crime: our kids can't ride their bikes in the street because of the plethora of people either unlicensed or should not have their license on the streets, and gangs and/or drug dealing taking over the play grounds. On the subject of getting tough on crime, it's time that they took action against drugs. The same morons who brought us the "sugary drinks" drivel have also dubbed drug-related crimes as "non-violent." Really? Anybody read the news lately? Oh yeah, we are supposed to believe that Mexican violence is an artifact of the NRA's policies, not the fact that Americans can't seem to get enough of their drugs, and there's nobody in society except the police willing to try to stop that. And about the police. They are trying to do their jobs, and yet we have a court and parole system that is a total joke. Reform of the parole system was window dressing. We need more than Melissa's Bill -- we need truth in sentencing. So I'm disappointed in the candidates, but let's hope.
Carl August 09, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I want all the free loading to stop. I am sick of paying for people who get rewarded for not working, or not getting a job because they want to wait until all their benefits have been exhausted. I was at BJ's and the guy in front had sushi and steaks in his cart, paid with an EBT card and when I met him outside, I asked him how he could live with himself. He said, "I'm milking the system", and "how do you like my new Audi"? Just an example.
John Castelluccio (Editor) August 09, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Lisa, there is a debate scheduled for Aug. 14 at 7 p.m., which will be aired live by Salem Access TV. I'm not sure if it will take place in their studios or in another location.
Julia Gentile August 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I want fiscal sanity and austerity, NO new taxes, a tough stance on violent crime, support for business growth, a turnaround in the growth of government dependency, (EBT Madness and expansion), and INTEGRITY. I will vote for Manning.
Stephen Raymond August 09, 2012 at 01:32 PM
@Saber, your point about attorneys is an excellent one. 99% of attorneys are terrible with their own money and even worse when it comes to the public's. For the record, I work in financial services so I'm speaking from experience.
Todd Perry August 09, 2012 at 01:35 PM
We are going in the wrong direction by rewarding non-productivity. We are rewarding laziness under the guise of people being "less fortunate". Soon, we will have more people collecting than contributing. I want to see a work component built into the welfare state.....almost everyone can do something. No one begrudges those who are physically unable to work. Everyone else, get off your fat behinds and stop making working people support you. I am an independent voter, leaning Manning. (Slattery is definitely out).
Kori Hansen August 09, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I support green energy and am opposed to people making bad choices. Sugary drinks and meat contribute to our obesity epidemic and should be restricted, (maybe by a tax, if not an outright ban). I do not want to see poor people humiliated by having their benefits reduced, and as long as working people can buy cigarettes they should too. I am not happy about the economy..I cannot find a job and I have a college degree in psych. I think greedy business people should be taxed more. If you make 125 k or more, you should give at least 60% back to the rest of us who built the infrastructure you leach off of. I will vote for someone who will help fix this system and restore the economy. Joan Lovely got rid of the filthy power plant and she has supported Salem business with growth in the Wiccan and psychic genres.
Diane Bonagura August 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM
One issue that deeply disturbs me is the explosion of child sexual abuse and child pornography that has been magnified by the internet. I want to see tougher sentencing for these monsters. I do not believe they can be cured or rehabbed. This rules out Slattery. of course, given his record. I will look at the other candidates before making a decision, but this is my main issue.
Paula August 09, 2012 at 04:17 PM
An issue that I am appalled at is the cost of higher education. Especially in a lack-luster teetering economy - this is a cost that just goes up and up. There is no longer much of a choice for this generation - in order to get a a decent job - most employers are requiring a college degree. If the choice for our kids is a college education or a non-living wage do they really have a choice at all about whether to go to college in order to become self-sustaining independent adults or skip college and become a "subsidized" generation. If we can't come up with a way to make college education affordable (and by affordable I don't mean offer loans which will put people into debt for decades) then it is time to bring back appentice programs and learn on the job pathways in lieu of a college education.
Stephen Raymond August 09, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Paula makes a great point!!! Outside of the USA there are only a handful of countries that charge their students for a college education, and even there, like in the UK, its a small nominal fee that covers upkeep of the buildings and a bit towards the teachers' pension. Our system penalizes students and cripples them with high debt just when they're starting out! The prohibitive cost jeopardizes our competitive edge in a global economy.
Diane Bonagura August 09, 2012 at 06:12 PM
We are at the point where, unless you are pursuing engineering or science, a college education is no longer worth the money. You are better off financially with a two year degree in medical techhnology, i.e. radiology, PT asst, etc....or the trades. You start off 150k in the hole with no career path if you major in Liberal arts!
Kathleen August 10, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Kori, are you kidding me? Please explain to me how anyone who is WORKING and making $125 K or more is 'leaching' off of anyone? And why should that WORKING person give 'at least 60%' of their hard-earning income back to anyone? (especially those that are NOT WORKING. Your logic is completely warped. This 'logic' makes you part of the problem not the solution! You should be thankful that there are so many 'greedy' business people out there working to support people like you.
Jaclyn Corriveau August 10, 2012 at 04:57 PM
@Carl, Manning is the only candidate who has spoken out against Governor Patrick's outrageous veto of the recent attempt at EBT reform. She, like you and I are sick of freeloading. Check out her press release on EBT abuse here: http://peabody.patch.com/announcements/manning-highly-critical-of-governors-outrageous-veto-of-ebt-reform-bill
Jaclyn Corriveau August 10, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Manning will be the first one to tell you that there is not a revenue problem, the state has a spending problem.
Jaclyn Corriveau August 10, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Have you gotten a chance to check out her website? www.maryellenforsenate.com I think you will find that she is only on who has spoken out on these issues, like EBT reform, and has a history of acting on them.
Jaclyn Corriveau August 10, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I would like to point out that Manning is only one who addressed any of the issues mentioned above. She has a history of looking out for you, the tax payer on the Governor's Council. She is the one that you can depend on. www.maryellenforsenate.com
Mike Schulze August 11, 2012 at 01:33 AM
John Slattery's maiden speech was for a raise for Health care workers.the lowest paid state workers.He represented Peabody well in his terms at the statehouse.His constituent services were excellent , He always got back to you and he worked well with the other legislators from the North Shore. As an Atty.he realizes that you can not even have a trial unless the accused is represented even if everyone KNOWS the accused is guilty. Manning should be disbarred for her comments in the Salem News and her opinions on the law.The people on these patch blogs that are representing her are really amazing. The more they spout for their candidates ,the more votes they lose. Joan Lovely is also a good person and works well with others. I am voting for Slattery and you Tea Party people with the cute pictures can vote for whoever in Kansas you are able to vote for. Same goes for the Governors Council. Best of luck! Oh, I am not a Union member or on welfare or in a gay marriage.I do support all of the above though and I vote!!!
Pat Green August 11, 2012 at 02:12 AM
@ Mike Schulze. Seriously? Disbarment for questioning a candidates sincerity? Also, I doubt anyone commenting on a democrat race on the Peabody Patch is a "Tea Party" person from Kansas. You, sir, sound like you might have gotten into the whiskey tonight...or vodka...whatever is your pleasure. Don't drive tonight. Please.
Karen McCourt August 11, 2012 at 02:17 AM
John Slattery is an proven impediment to the current forces in the state, and to the general US, that empowers very large banks, lenders and corporate entities from generating such unbridled laissez faire policies that they once again tank the economy and put a large portion of the US population out of work. Now that it has happened under a Republican dominated 2000's, and while we all sit quagmired in a limping economy, the iron is hot to prosecute those banks who invented the dishonest mathematics that hollowed out a stable middle class. This same economic destruction by unimpeded banks has created a population that is driven by a fear and anxiety of the moment. Even in our district there is a population that wants to strip those suffering economic hardship of help, make it harder to convince large lenders to re-negotiate home mortgages, keep those of non-European decent out of our country, and inject austerity and God into our politics. No thanks. The history books are too full of lessons to vote for anyone other than Slattery. I am concerned about keeping my hometown and home state a model of real everlasting democracy. I am concerned about the inevitable de-stablization of a nation that continues a lewd discrepancy of wealth across its population. It's bad bad news. Wake up. Labor, gays, Dominicans, liberals and newspapers did not package up rotten mortgages into securities and sell them to the public with triple-A ratings.
Mike Schulze August 11, 2012 at 02:42 AM
So I take it that you are going to vote for Elizabeth Warren,John Tierney,and Barack Obama like me. Good for you! Now let's work on those newspapers and Dominicans?Are they Monks?
Jeanne Billings August 11, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Jaclyn C. really needs to identify herself as someone that is working on Ann Manning's campaign. She pulled this with Fitzgerald's as well. I am all for public opinion but lets have full disclosure if you are going to continuously comment on everyone's comments...I am looking forward to the debate instead of the phony press releases that seem to be the MO for the people that are running Ann's campaign and also ran Sean's...Same people with the same tactics...Hmm we wonder how that will work out...
Mike Schulze August 11, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Sam Adams,a great American Beer,maybe a Guinness,or Smithwicks. Not driving tonight,I am at a church vigil praying for the Tea Party. I am out looking for a picture to put up next to my name. Maybe I will use Janet Wu's picture! Maybe Ed Harding?Pat let's have a beer! You buy!
Mike Schulze August 11, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Jeanne, Relax , it is not Anne and Sean lost.He never pulled any of this stuff.He ran and he and Ted are OK! I think we should stick to the issues of the 2nd Essex campaign. The same people are doing the same stuff to Eileen Duff. They are turning people against their candidates.Manning and Bulmiller were asked to disavow these people or agree with them.Their silence speaks volumes!
Stephen Raymond August 11, 2012 at 03:12 AM
OK Jaclyn we get it, you LIKE manning. But the articles asks "what's your top issue"
Leo R. Jodoin August 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM
For John & Lisa I heard you wanted to know more about the debate in Salem on 8/14/12 Salem Access here it is. Coming Tuesday August 14Th LIVE! at 7:00Pm on channel 22 Salem you can see the Senate forum debate on !!Salem Now!! with Leo Jodoin, the candidates will join Leo for questions and answers for the out going senators seat of Senator Fred Berry, the candidates joining Leo are Joan Lovely-D-Salem, Mary-Ellen Manning-D-Peabody, John Slattery-D-Peabody, Edward Carrol-D- Salem and Richard Jolitz-R-Beverly. This will be a hour and half show we hope this will be helpful in making your decision on who should be the candidate representing the 2Nd Essex District. And of course if you miss the LIVE! segment you can always watch the rerun on channel 22 or you can go to satvonline.org and see it on the video on demand the next day. We hope you will join us on what we think will be a very important evening. Thank You Executive Producer/Host !!Salem Now!! Leo R. Jodoin
Evan Weinberg August 15, 2012 at 03:29 AM
It will be a great day when we no longer have to put up with a hateful phony surrogate from the Slattery-Joyce Spiliotis mob like Lisa Smith! I have done my due diligence here, I have never met ANY of the candidates & am not part of their racketeering crew like "Lisa Smith". John Slattery is an arrogant, loud mouth bully, who changed his vote on the death penalty years ago because the Gay lobbyists PAID HIM OFF! I spoke with 2 former state reps who served with Slattery who CONFIRMED this is true! Recently, he was happy to represent a vicious child rapist for a large amount of cash! Slattery would be happy to represent Hitler if the price is right! Joan Lovely and Slattery have something in common. THEY BOTH REFUSE TO PAY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN BILLS TO UNION PRINT SHOPS AND THEN LIE ABOUT IT! Lovely over the last month as presdent of the salem city council rammed thru a 40 percent increase in parking fines, a $300 annual parking fee with no guranteed space, a 9 percent increase in the water rate, a 4 percent increase in the sewer bill & to top it all off-salem is the only municipality to pass an INTERNET SALES TAX! I want someone that will fight the powerbrokers, represent the average folks not special interests, & promote jobs, the economy and lower taxes. Mary-Ellen Manning has angered the all the insiders, left wing extremists and crooks, inside the state house and the corrupt democratic party, which means she is doing something right. Mary-Ellen Manning gets my vote!
Janet Marino-Johnson August 15, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I just received a HIGHLY UNETHICAL MAILING FROM Joan Lovelys campaign. She sent absentee ballots out, stating, "its going to be a low turnout so I need your vote with an absentee ballot" OUTRAGEOUS! There are only 3 reasons for absentee ballot usage-NONE ARE FOR POLITICAL REASONS JOANIE! 1) Illness, 2)out of town, or 3)religious. Joan Lovely should be ASHAMED OF HERSELF! You owe the people an apology using such an dirty, unethical trick! DONT VOTE FOR JOAN LOVELY--VOTE EDWARD CARROLL STATE SENATE!


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