NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 26, 2013

McClure prioritizes spending, business, schools

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — 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 Donna McClure, one of the five candidates running for the three open seats on the City Council.

Donna McClure

Age: Declined to say

Years in Amesbury: 20

Family: Husband, David, 2 sons, 2 daughters-in-law, 4 grandchildren

Education: Attended classes at Cornell, Russell Sage College, and every other class and educational opportunity Verizon Wireless offered.

Current employment: Heritage Realty Associates

Past employment: Director Verizon Wireless and Director of Business and Corporate Account Sales at Sprint.

Political/public service: Second term on City Council. Served as chair of the Finance Committee; Member of Public Buildings and Infrastructure and Master Plan committees.

Top 3 priorities:

1. Prioritize spending needs. This can be done by restoring a Finance Committee made up of citizens and councilors. We need a blend of private sector expertise and councilors to provide proper balance and perspective.

2. Bring in new business. Tax rates matter to every potential homebuyer and our current residents. Amesbury is in competition with neighboring towns. We need a team that understands competition and how to win new business. After 8 years of failures, it’s time for a new team of players who focus on actual results.

3. Improve school performance. We need lower class sizes and increased offerings. Better schools, as graded by higher graduation rates and MCAS scores, will drive the demand for Amesbury housing up.

Statement: Amesbury is at a crossroads. We are in a downward spiral of high taxes, decreasing home equity, underperforming schools and crumbling infrastructure.

This past year, however, taught me that one person could make a difference. Using procedural moves and with broad community support, I was able to single-handedly stop the unwarranted and self-serving raises proposed and advocated by my fellow councilors.

I added a hotel tax that would bring in much-needed revenue without affecting Amesbury residents. I voted against an overpriced ($6 million) DPW and the taxpayers’ purchase of a sewer line for a multi-billion dollar company. I evaluated the return on the investment for every single spending measure.

In short, I treated taxpayer dollars as I would my own. Deciphering wants vs. needs, using reason and research, we can move Amesbury forward without breaking the backs of our lower or fixed-income residents. We can address the absurd water bills, help young families burdened with excessive school fees, and change the downward spiral of high taxes and undervalued properties.

And most important, we can establish a consensus process on how to evaluate and fund our schools so that the divisive and counterproductive cycle that pits residents against each other can once and for all be broken. Amesbury can move forward affordably and with that in mind I ask for your vote on Nov. 5.