AMESBURY — Another candidate has stepped forward to attempt a write-in campaign for Christian Scorzoni’s soon-to-be-vacated District 2 City Council seat.
Mary Louise Bartley, a lifelong resident of Amesbury whose family has deep ties to the Amesbury Fire Department, has decided to enter the race with the hope of addressing the city’s tax situation, which she said is threatening the economic well-being of the city’s residents, particularly the elderly.
Bartley will be challenging Mary Chatigny, another write-in candidate who previously represented the district from 2007 to 2011 and is attempting to regain her old seat.
“I felt compelled to throw my hat into the ring in the hopes of reversing course,” Bartley said.
Scorzoni had been running unopposed for a second term in office, but due to his family’s impending move out of district, he will not be eligible to retain his seat at the start of the next term. Since the deadline to officially withdraw from the race has passed, Scorzoni’s name will still be the only one on the ballot.
Any write-in candidate must secure at least 30 percent of the vote in order to become eligible for election. If no write-in candidate reaches the 30 percent threshold, then Scorzoni’s seat will be declared vacant at the start of the next term and the City Council will appoint his successor.
Bartley is a newcomer to politics and has never held public office before, instead spending most of her career working as a registered nurse to the chief of otolaryngology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, while holding numerous other teaching and coordinating responsibilities at the hospital.
During that time, Bartley said she owned property in the Back Bay and spent a lot of time in the city, but at the end of the day Amesbury was always her home, and she remained active by helping with fundraising and volunteerism while voting in every election.
Her family was also closely involved with the fire department for many years, and both her father and brother served as fire chief. Her other brothers also served as firefighters at different points.
“I’ve been very involved in Amesbury my whole life,” Bartley said. “My family was here, my mother was here, so I wanted to stay connected.”
If elected, Bartley said her top priorities would be to lower the tax burden on homeowners and to reorganize the City Council’s Finance Committee so that it would be made up of eight citizens and one city councilor, as opposed to the current format, which calls for the nine city councilors to comprise the Finance Committee.
She also made a point to emphasize that she is against the split tax rate and would fight any effort to reinstitute it. Bartley argued that splitting the tax rate would deter businesses from coming to Amesbury, and could encourage existing businesses to leave as well.
Ultimately, Bartley said her goal is to help bring about a change in the way things have worked in Amesbury over the past few years.
“The present elected officials have not heeded the will of their constituents,” Bartley said. “They have forged on with their expensive plans spending the tax money that we entrusted in their care, forgetting the moral responsibility to be fiscally responsible.”
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.