AMESBURY — Mayor Thatcher Kezer and his challenger Ken Gray faced off before an audience of about 200 at the Amesbury High School auditorium during last night’s mayoral debate.
The debate was moderated by WTSN AM 1270 news director and morning show host Mike Pomp, and was sponsored by The Daily News, the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce and Amesbury High School.
The debate began with opening statements from each candidate, and proceeded with a series of 10 questions, including some submitted by the audience. At the end of the debate, the candidates had an opportunity to ask each other questions directly, and then rebut the other’s responses.
Gray, who has spent his whole career in the private sector as an engineer and technology executive, started by thanking everyone for coming and especially those who helped deliver him a victory in the Sept. 17 primary election. He said residents of all types came together to elect change while sending a clear message that contrary to what the mayor says, the tax rate is a serious problem that should be addressed.
“The choices before you are change the course, or stay the course,” Gray said.
Kezer, who is seeking his fifth term as mayor of Amesbury, began his remarks by reflecting on the challenges that the city has faced over the past eight years, starting with the Mother’s Day flood that threatened to wipe out the downtown early in his tenure through the severe economic recession.
He went on to say that Amesbury has met these challenges and come out stronger under his leadership, and if re-elected he will follow a three-point plan to keep Amesbury moving forward, those points being to drive down costs while providing excellent services, to invest in economic growth and then use economic growth to invest in the schools.