AMESBURY — As part of The Daily News coverage of the upcoming city election, the newspaper is publishing profiles of candidates for office.
Today’s profile is Robert Lavoie, who is unopposed for the Ward 4 council seat.
Robert W. Lavoie
Address: Country Lane
Years in Amesbury: 53 of 59 years (born at Amesbury Hospital)
Family: Wife: Nancy, who has worked at Anna Jaques Hospital for 35-plus years; both of our families have lived in Amesbury for 150-plus years. We have two adult children, Andy and Ashley, both of whom are proud graduates of Amesbury High School who have gone on to earn college degrees and who work locally and still live in Amesbury.
Education: bachelor’s degree, Harvard College ‘76; law degree, Boston University ‘79
Profession: Attorney for 33 years practicing commercial real estate law in Andover; presently with 11-attorney firm of Johnson & Borenstein, and formerly 30-plus years with Devine Millimet & Branch (a 75-attorney firm headquartered in Manchester, N.H.
Political and public service: I have served for the last 8 years on the Amesbury City Council representing District 4 (Friend Street/Lions Mouth Road/Whitehall Road); president of the City Council, 2010-11; co-chair of Amesbury Master Plan Steering Committee, 2002-04; Master Plan Implementation and Oversight Committee (2005); former chairman, now vice chairman of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission; board member and Executive Committee of Merrimack Chamber of Commerce; Merrimack Valley Legal Services; Neighborhood Legal Services; former president and now a member-at-large of Yankee Clipper Council, Boy Scouts of America; appointed by Supreme Judicial Court to Access to Justice Commission (2005-10)
I ran for City Council in 2005 to ensure there would be constructive participation by long-time Amesbury residents having a positive attitude. Amesbury and its City Council have benefited from new arrivals to Amesbury who have also discovered that Amesbury is a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. Today, most thinking people in Amesbury agree that Amesbury is in fact moving in the right direction. We may disagree about some of the details, but collectively we know that Amesbury is much better off today as result of the steady, positive steps that have occurred over the last six years, when many of the current city councilors came on board. It is critical to recall that Amesbury’s new direction started 17 years ago when Amesbury wisely voted to replace its dysfunctional Board of Selectmen who had fired five town managers in less than a decade and who had collectively cost Amesbury a lot of litigation settlements from poor choices they had made. Today, Amesbury is recognized as a wonderful community, justifiably proud of the successes made over the last six years. Quite a refreshing change from my first years on the council, when Fox 25 was in Amesbury for all of the wrong reasons. And you don’t have to take my word for it: just watch “Chronicle” and listen to Amesbury’s bond raters, who have increased Amesbury’s bond rating twice over the past few years, to its current A+ grade.
Top 3 priorities:
Based on my eight years of City Council experience, Amesbury continues to need to relieve the residential tax burden by pursuing the following three priorities:
1. Expanding the commercial tax base by supporting projects such as the changes currently under way in the Lower Millyard.
2. Determining and adopting recognized best practices so as to keep Amesbury’s operating costs as low as possible while still providing excellent but affordable municipal services; and
3. Carefully deciding which capital investments in Amesbury’s infrastructure need to be made today (but paid by the next 20 years worth of taxpayers) to move from Amesbury’s current 4 percent debt service level for capital improvements to the Department of Revenue’s 5 percent best practice, which ensures that dis-investment does not occur.