Election season officially kicks off here in Amesbury on Thursday, when nomination papers become available to residents interested in running for office. If the glut of political activity over the past few months is any indication, we could be heading toward one of the busiest election seasons the city has seen in years.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that a contingent of dissatisfied residents would be challenging the sitting city officials who are up for re-election in response to their decisions during the Lower Millyard project and DPW garage debates and their statements regarding the tax rate and city budget in general.
One such candidate has now stepped forward, as Ken Gray of 60 Merrimac St. will be challenging Mayor Thatcher Kezer in this fall’s election.
Kezer has already announced that he will seek a fifth term as mayor, in addition to Jim Thivierge of 106 Friend St., who will be running for mayor once again.
As for the City Council races, numerous candidates are expected to announce their candidacy once papers become available, but a good portion of the sitting councilors have already indicated their intentions to run for re-election, including Council Vice President Robert Gilday, District 4 Councilor Bob Lavoie and Councilor at-large James Kelcourse.
So far Eric Bezanson of 115 Whitehall Road is the only newcomer who has announced his candidacy, and he will be seeking an at-large seat on the council.
Council President Anne Ferguson, District 2 Councilor Christian Scorzoni, District 5 Councilor Joseph McMilleon and at-large Councilor Allen Neale so far are all still undecided, although Neale said it was “highly likely” he would run again. At this point District 3 Councilor Donna McClure and District 6 Councilor Derek Kimball have not spoken publicly about their future plans.
Nomination papers for the city elections will be available beginning Thursday until Friday, July 26, at 5 p.m. Any resident who wants to take out papers must come in to the city clerk’s office in person, said City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin.
To register, each candidate needs to file a statement containing his or her name, address and the office that he or she intends to run for. Candidates will then have until Tuesday, July 30, at 5 p.m. to submit their nomination papers to the Board of Registrars to have the signatures certified, and then until Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 5 p.m. to submit those certified papers to the clerk.
Copies of the election calendar are available in the city clerk’s office.
In case you missed it last week, the Amesbury Days Farmers Market is still looking for participants. If you’re a local food vendor interested in signing up, contact Allison Heartquist at 978-388-8121 or email email@example.com.
Similarly, if you’re interested in participating in the Chamber of Commerce’s Block Party on June 27, call the Chamber at 978-388-3178.
Speaking of the Chamber, they will also be holding a Fashion Show to benefit Best Foot Forward next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Amesbury Sports Park.
Tickets are $35 for VIP front-row seats or $25 for general admission and can be bought at the Chamber offices, from Best Foot Forward or from participating Chamber members, including the Custard Shoppe, Cutters Plus, Glow Personalized Skin Care, Gold Leaf Fine Jewelry, Lindsay Jordan Designs, The Fashion Bus, The Picket and Trendsetter’s Boutique.
The following meetings are scheduled this week and are open to the public:
School Committee Budget/Finance Subcommittee, 6 p.m., Amesbury High School.
School Committee, 7 p.m., Amesbury High School Library.
Cultural Council, 7 p.m., Jon Mooers Artist Gallery, 19 Main Street.
City Election Nomination Papers Available, All Day, City Clerk’s Office, City Hall.
Amesbury High School Council, 6:30 p.m., AHS Principal’s Conference Room.
Planning Board, 7 p.m., City Hall Auditorium.
Mac Cerullo covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached at 978-462-6666, ext. 3238 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.