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The North Shore chapter of 350 Mass Action whole-heartedly endorses the candidacy of Virginia Leigh for Sheriff of Essex County. Both her philosophy and platform represent a new and welcomed paradigm shift for this office, turning the traditional sheriff’s role of punishment and retribution into one that focuses on the well being of both those who have been convicted of crimes and that of the larger society.  350 Mass Action has deep roots in social justice issues.  Ms. Leigh's strategies for addressing recidivism, nurturing the well being of correctional officers, and introducing restorative justice techniques are inspiring to us and represent a new, hopeful direction for our correctional systems.


We are excited to support Virginia in her run for sheriff. As a clinical social worker, she has the skills and experience to put the values of justice and compassion at the heart of transformation within the criminal legal system. Too much money is wasted on failed punitive programs, we need expertise on ending cycles of violence. She would only be the second social worker elected to the office of sheriff in the country. As sheriff, she would bring fairness, reason, and her extensive experience working with people to her job, reducing recidivism and creating a safer and more just community for the citizens of Essex County. We are proud to support her, we share the transformation vision she has for justice in our communities, and we look forward to working with her once she is in office.

Swampscott Housing Authority
Tenants Association

“Today we voted to endorse Virginia. We’ve never done anything like that before, but we did it because it would be a miracle if she could be a Sheriff here. There are serious, horrible issues in all the jails in Massachusetts, and she’s got some wonderful ideas because she’s coming from a social worker’s background. She [is] remarkable, and we all just had to get behind her.”

Elected Officials

"Virginia is someone who shows up, listens, and takes action. Someone who understands that the incarcerated requires proper care, a chance for rehabilitation, and to be ready to re-enter their communities. I am confident that she has the clinical and social work experience to give a different approach in the Sheriff Office, and that is why she has earned my endorsement."


Jonathan Guzman

Vice-Chair of Lawrence School Committee


Alice Merkl

Councillor at Large - Salem

"I am supporting Virginia Leigh for Essex County Sheriff because of her expertise in mental health and substance use programs, and her vision to bring an innovative and human centered approach to reducing recidivism in Essex County."

"I ran for Sheriff on a platform to bring the same changes to Essex County as Virginia is now supporting. Substance use and mental health problems know no Party lines, and in this year's election, I wholeheartedly support Virginia Leigh's leadership as the next Sheriff of Essex County."

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Anne Manning-Martin

Councilor at Large - Peabody

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Beth Anne Cornell

Salem School Committee

"Virginia Leigh's positions are progressive, humane, and considerate of all people affected by the prison system, from workers to incarcerated individuals and their families. I'm proud to give her my support."

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Peter Spellios

Select Board Member - Swampscott

We cannot seriously address recidivism unless we seriously address the social, mental health and substance issues that fuel it.  This requires a Sherriff with a background in social work, mental health and substance abuse.  Virginia Leigh is that person.

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Caroline Watson-Felt

Ward 2 Councillor - Salem

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Lev McClain

Salem City Councilor

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Andy Varela

Salem City Councilor


Community Leaders


Nicole McClain

President & Founder of North Shore Juneteenth Association / U.S. Veteran

"Virginia Leigh has displayed the grit and resilience that will be required of the Sheriff of Essex County by stepping forward to run for this important office. Her message is one that touches our community as a whole with a focus on meeting the needs of our most vulnerable. I stand with Virginia because she has the education, experience and vision needed to meet the needs of Essex County."


Damon Harrison

Former President of NAACP of Lynn

I am a lifelong Lynn resident, a dedicated Mental Health Counselor and career community activist. Over the years, I have known family members, loved ones, and friends who have been locked up in Middleton jail. For me, this is not a vote against Kevin Coppinger. This is a long overdue campaign and thought-worthy vote for a Sheriff's candidate who'll represent law and order, compassion for PRISONERS and the Correctional Officers in Essex County Middleton jail.

Mark Archer

Retired State Trooper


I offer my full support, endorsement and recommendation without reservation for Virgina Leigh for Sheriff of Essex County. As a highly decorated retired State Trooper, I have dealt with numerous incarcerated individuals. Reducing the recidivism rate among the incarcerated and dealing with mental health issues should be a priority for the next sheriff. I strongly believe Virginia Leigh is the best person at this time to lead the Essex County Sheriff's department. Ms. Leigh would bring professionalism, years of experience as a social worker, and compassion to the office of the Sheriff.

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Jaime Melendez

Director of Veterans Services - Lawrence

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Kenneth Thompson

Democratic State Committee Member

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Isabel Melendez

"Mother of Lawrence"

Founder of Semana Hispana Festival


Jackie Marmol

Retired Correctional Officer

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Helina Fontes

Former Candidate for Governors Council


Elizabeth Figueroa

Former Candidate for City Council / President & Founder of Upright Mission Inc.

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Adriana Paz

President of Prevent the Cycle / Co-Chair of Lynn Racial Justice Coalition


Jason Ebacher

Attorney and Retired Assistant Superintendent of Middleton Jail

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