By Cary Shuman
Lynn resident Michael Marks will officially announce his intention to run for the position of Essex County Sheriff at a Campaign Kickoff Function May 4 at the Knights of Columbus on Lynnfield Street.
Marks is currently the superintendent of the Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton. He has been with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department for 28 years, having started as a correctional officer at the Salem jail in 1988.
Marks, 53, made the decision to run for Sheriff of Essex County after current Sheriff Frank Cousins told his staff that he would not be seeking re-election.
“I’m running for Sheriff because I’m proud of the work that we do there,” said Marks. “The overall mission of the Sheriff’s Department is care, custody, and control of inmates but the core of what we do is reentry and reintegration in to society so the responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department is to give them the necessary tools to come back into the communities better than when they came in to the system.”
Marks credited Sheriff Cousins for a recently launched innovative program, a detoxification pre-trial unit that consists of 42 beds for people with substance abuse problems.
“The opioid crisis is killing people and destroying families and what society has been doing hasn’t been working so Sheriff Cousins was innovative in his thought process of putting this unit together,” said Marks. “We worked with the DA’s Office, probation, the judges, and defense attorneys. It was a long process and I was heavily involved in putting it together. We collaborate with AdCare Hospital whose clinicians work with individuals with substance abuse on a plan for what they’re going to do upon their release. So far, we have a 96 percent success rate with this program.”
Since announcing his intention on social media on March 2, Marks and campaign volunteers have been collecting signatures for certification to be on the ballot. He intends to appoint a campaign manager and he has opened a campaign headquarters on Route 114 in Middleton.
Marks is carrying on a family tradition of outstanding service in the field of law enforcement. His father, Terrence Marks (wife Nancy Marks), was the superintendent of the Essex County Correctional Alternative Center in Lawrence. His father-in-law, Jack Hollow (wife Mary Hollow), was the longtime chief of the Lynn Police Department. His son, Michael Jr., 27, is a correctional officer in Middlesex County while a son, Terrence, 28, is a U.S. Air Force veteran. Michael Marks Sr. and his wife, Joanne, also have four other children, Katie, 25, Jack, 11, and twins Christopher and Nicholas, 9.
Marks was born in Lynn and graduated in 1980 from St. Mary’s High School where the 6-foot-5-inch athlete starred in football, captained the basketball team, and played baseball.
Interestingly Marks had to take a one-year leave from his baseball coaching position in the Wyoma Little League to focus on his campaign.
“But I’ll be there [Reinfuss Field] on Opening Day,” pledged Marks.
He is excited about the campaign ahead in the 34 communities that make up Essex County and heartened by the positive response so far.
“I’m very excited about the campaign,” said Marks. “It certainly wasn’t something I thought I was going to be able to do. In 2003 when Sheriff Cousins interviewed me for the superintendent’s position, I told him someday I would like to be the Sheriff. I fully expected to be working on Sheriff Cousins’s re-election campaign. When he told us he wasn’t running in February, I was a kind of shocked. All of sudden the dream I had in 2003 of being Sheriff that I thought was gone – that dream was right in front of me again. I spoke with my family and they gave me their support to go for the position.”
As for the campaign kickoff event in two weeks, Marks said confidently, “We will fill the hall.”