NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 10, 2013

Chatigny launches write-in campaign for council seat

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — With Christian Scorzoni set to step down at the end of his term, former City Councilor Mary Chatigny has announced that she will attempt a write-in campaign to reclaim her old seat as the District 2 councilor.

Chatigny decided to jump into the race after news broke that Scorzoni wouldn’t be able to return to the City Council next year because his family is moving out of district, making him ineligible to retain the seat. Chatigny previously served two terms on the council, winning election in 2007 before being ousted by Scorzoni in 2011.

Scorzoni had been running unopposed for a second term in office, and because the deadline to officially withdraw has passed, his name will remain on the ballot. If Chatigny can secure at least 30 percent of the vote, she would become eligible for election and would likely become the next District 2 councilor, even if Scorzoni receives more votes on Election Day.

If Chatigny does not secure at least 30 percent of the vote, then Scorzoni’s seat would be declared vacant at the start of the next term and the City Council would be responsible for appointing his successor.

As a write-in candidate, Chatigny is facing an uphill climb to overcome the inherent disadvantage of not being on the ballot, but she said she’s still optimistic about her chances because she has served in the past and already has some degree of name recognition among prospective voters.

“I’ve served them well in the past and hopefully they’ll put my name down,” Chatigny said. “I’m planning on giving out labels and asking people to please vote for me.”

While in office, Chatigny was a major proponent of revitalizing the Lower Millyard and voted in favor of the Costello Transportation Center project, the water treatment plant project and of regionalizing the health nurse and health departments with Salisbury.

Chatigny said she was excited when the City Council voted to approve the relocation of the Department of Public Works garage out of the Lower Millyard in 2012, saying the investment will benefit Amesbury in the long run and if elected she would continue to focus on keeping Amesbury moving forward in a similar manner.

“I think the way we spend our money indicates what’s important to us and what we value,” Chatigny said. “I know we spend a good amount of our funds on our schools, which shows that we value our children.”

From a political standpoint, Chatigny and her husband, Bill, are both outspoken supporters of Mayor Thatcher Kezer. In addition to putting out her own yard signs, she indicated that she would be joining councilors Anne Ferguson, Bob Gilday, Bob Lavoie and Allen Neale in the nascent “I Am Pro Amesbury” political campaign, which was started by District 6 candidate Jonathan Sherwood and aims to promote “a more positive view of our community” while encouraging public figures to “affirm that the city is actually heading in the right direction.”

Amesbury has experienced a stark divide in recent years between those who support further investment in the city and those who believe taxes and spending are out of control and should be reined in; and as the election season has progressed, tensions have begun to run high.

Despite the hot political rhetoric that has engulfed Amesbury over the past few months, Chatigny took issue to the notion of there being two opposing factions in town, arguing that even if people disagree over politics, everybody who lives in town is an Amesbury resident who just wants what’s best for the city at the end of the day.

“We all have the best intention of moving Amesbury in a positive direction, it’s just sometimes we have different strategies about what the best is. I don’t see anyone as being on an opposing side — they just have a different way to get to the same spot,” she said.

District 2 comprises most of the northeastern part of town and includes Market Square, the Lower Millyard, Madison Street and the length of Congress Street. The district borders include the eastern side of Market Street up to Clinton Street, Clinton Street to Congress Street, and then the east side of Congress Street to the Salisbury border, and then on the south by the Powow River, Oakland Street, Elm Street until Monroe Street, and then the west side of Monroe Street to Salisbury.