, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 10, 2014

Teenage chief of staff spurs criticism in Amesbury


“Do we seriously have a 19-year-old who wrote a letter calling for teachers to bring firearms to schools operating as our Chief of Staff?” asked Jen Meagher, one of the moderators of the ‘Support Amesbury Schools, Support Amesbury Kids!’ group. “Mr. Gray is not off to a great start.”

“Mayor Gray ran on the notion of ‘healing’ Amesbury,” wrote Rebecca Jordan, a newly elected member of the Library Board of Trustees who had helped run Kezer’s election campaigns in the past. “Hiring a teenager with extreme and controversial opinions is a first step in the wrong direction.”

“For someone who was supposed to bring private sector experience to the office, this is very troubling,” Cronin said. “This is not Student Government Day, this is not Bring Your Child to Work Day, this is our community, and we now have two people with zero municipal experience running things.”

Kenney brushed off the criticism, saying he hadn’t seen the comments himself and that so far all of his interactions with the Amesbury public have been positive. As far as the essay goes, he said that since joining the Wakefield School Committee last year, his political views have evolved and he’s learned to take a more pragmatic approach to government, particularly at the local level.

“I’ve learned that politics are a distraction from the things that really matter,” Kenney said. “Politics play no role in educating our children, paving our roads and keeping our city safe. I’m really excited that I got involved when I was in high school, I’ve always had this passion for making a difference, and that’s what led me to run for School Committee. I’ve learned a lot since then.”

Gray told The Daily News he was not available yesterday to comment.

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