AMESBURY — Dissatisfied with the city’s direction over the past few years, local technology executive Ken Gray announced yesterday that he will be challenging Mayor Thatcher Kezer in this fall’s mayoral election.
Gray, 63, of 60 Merrimac St., Unit 912, has lived in Amesbury for the last three years, and before that he lived in West Newbury for 13 years and Andover for 21 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Northeastern University in 1973 and since then has spent his entire career working in the semiconductor industry.
He works at Northwave Technology, Inc. in Haverhill, which he started in 2001. The company manufactures a machine that aids in the production processes of some of the world’s biggest technology firms, including Intel, Texas Instruments and IBM.
“I’m pretty well rounded. I’ve run everything from operations to finance to engineering to sales and marketing,” Gray said. “I’ve run the whole company, so I have a good understanding of management, leadership and those kinds of skills.”
Gray joins a field of candidates that also includes Jim Thivierge, who has run several times for mayor. Kezer has not yet officially announced, but he has indicated he will run for his fifth two-year term.
Gray has never run for or held public office, and he said he has no political ambitions beyond being the mayor of Amesbury. The reason he wants to run is because he believes there are a lot of problems that the current administration is unwilling to face, and he thinks he can make a difference.
“My training as an engineer almost inevitably leads me to identifying problems and coming up with solutions,” Gray said. “That’s the world I live in, and that’s what I’ve done my whole career.”
Primarily, Gray said the issue of taxes is threatening to tear the community apart, and he said Kezer’s unwillingness to admit that tax rates are a problem is only making things worse. He said the cycle of high tax rates producing lower property values is unsustainable, and if elected he will make addressing that a focus of his administration.