By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER – For the first time in many years, North Andover does not have one of its residents serving in the state Legislature – but the town will have plentiful representation at the Democratic Issues Convention July 13 at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell.
First of all, the North Andover delegation boasts two members of the Democratic State Committee, an advantage many communities cannot claim. Mark DiSalvo was an elected member of the state committee for many years and now enjoys lifetime membership because of his lengthy service.
Phil DeCologero, who at 25 is a bona fide political veteran – he has managed winning campaigns for former state Rep. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, and Selectman Donald Stewart, among others – won a seat on the Democratic State Committee as a male youth member last April. He was voted into that position by other members of the state committee.
DeCologero and DiSalvo, who is North Andover’s moderator, will serve as delegates by virtue of their status as Democratic State Committee members. Another ex officio delegate is newly elected Democratic Town Chairwoman Tricia Melvin.
A veteran political activist, she is DiSalvo’s wife and chaired the town committee in the 1990s. Local Democrats held a caucus at the Stevens Memorial Library on Wednesday night and elected Anne Blaine, Karen Trowbridge, Phyllis Ann Jones, Walter Kirby, Brian Kirby, Brian Hanssen and John Fouhy as delegates.
While the Democrats hold a convention that endorses candidates during the even-numbered election years, the Issues Convention, scheduled during odd-numbered years, discusses the state party platform and votes to take stands on various questions facing the state and the nation.