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Karin Rhoton announces her campaign to challenge State Rep. David Torrisi for the 14th Essex seat last night from the steps of North Andover Town Hall. With her are her husband Derik and two of her three sons, Kaleb, left, and Kristopher.

NORTH ANDOVER — Her family by her side, Karin Rhoton talked about keeping them and other area families safe as one of her reasons for challenging State Rep. David Torrisi.

And Rhoton's husband and three boys are already advocating for her.

"Vote for her! Vote for her!" chanted Kaleb Rhoton, 7, following his mother's speech.

Standing on the steps of North Andover Town Hall, Rhoton formally announced her intention to challenge Torrisi, D-North Andover, in front of a dozen supporters last night.

Rhoton, a North Andover School Committee member running as a Republican, said she represents "a clear change" from Torrisi and pledged to use fiscal responsibility and common sense solutions if she is elected.

"Join me in taking our representation to a different direction," Rhoton said. "A direction that will result in our tax dollars managed responsbily, our voice valued and our communities safe."

Rhoton decided to run for the School Committee in 2009 after reading that no candidates were stepping forward.

"Faced with putting my money where my mouth was, I went down to Town Hall, I took out papers and I was subsequently elected in 2009," Rhoton said.

Rhoton, 36, will finish her first three-year term on the School Committee on March 31 and is not seeking re-election.

Rhoton, an executive at a Wilmington technology company, talked about bringing more local aid to area communities and ensuring that cities and towns are not hit with unfunded mandates.

"These bills are passed with three little words in them: subject to appropriation," Rhoton said.

Rhoton is the first candidate to announce for the seat, and could still face a challenge for the Republican nomination. Redistricting changes to the 14th Essex added parts of Methuen and Haverhill to the district while removing some parts of Lawrence. Torrisi said last week that 35 percent of the district is new.

Former North Andover Selectman Dan Lanen attended the announcement and said he believes Rhoton has a good chance against Torrisi.

"People are tired of the same old, same old and are looking for people who are conservative, who will spend their money wisely and who are willing to go out and do the work," Lanen said.

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