NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 23, 2013

In Amesbury election, 'Pro' camp emerges

(Continued)

“I think the main distinction is you can either look at our community as the glass half-full, or the glass half-empty,” Kezer said. “We on the Pro Amesbury say our glass is more than half-full, in regards to the great quality of life assets we have in this community, and that’s what we want to focus on.”

The group has been distributing “I Am Pro Amesbury” lapel stickers, and will be holding a rally in Market Square on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., which will feature remarks by Kezer and candidates who support his bid for office, as well as a musical performance by Merrimac Hat Company.

One aspect of the group that has become a point of contention is its name, with some residents and candidates for office who have focused on addressing the city’s taxes arguing that they’re being painted as “anti-Amesbury” for disagreeing with the Pro Amesbury premise.

Dave Haraske, who is Sherwood’s challenger in the race for District 6 city councilor, said he feels the initiative is perfectly fine as a campaign platform, but he disagrees with the notion that people who focus on taxes have a negative view of the city.

“The implication is that ‘I’m pro Amesbury, and if you’re not with us politically, then you’re anti-Amesbury,’” Haraske said. “And that’s not true. We’re all pro Amesbury, we just all have different visions of how we want to fix our problems.”

Haraske added that he feels acknowledging the city’s tax problem and striving to address it is pro Amesbury, because people who want to fix the city’s problems ultimately want the city to improve.

Haraske is one of several candidates who are politically aligned with mayoral candidate Ken Gray. Others who have aligned themselves with Gray include council at-large candidates Donna McClure and Eric Bezanson, Paul Sickorez in District 1 and Erin Butt in District 5. The candidates have not created a binding identity similar to “I Am Pro Amesbury”; however, most have been active participants in a Facebook group called “Amesbury Citizens for Lower Taxes.”

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