Ken Gray won the Amesbury mayoral election by three votes, but did Amesbury win? Gray won districts 1 and 5, Mayor Thatcher Kezer won districts 2, 4 and 6, with District 3 tied. Gray won the water districts, the districts with the most valuable and highest taxed properties. Apparently, those homeowners want the high-priced properties, but not the higher taxes associated with them. Do they really believe that novice Ken Gray is going to lower their taxes? Not a chance.
In eight years, because of his previous municipal experience and connections, Kezer brought $46 million in federal and state aid to Amesbury. During the campaign, Gray received endorsements from losing Republican candidates Richard Tisei and Charlie Baker. How much money will they help Gray bring to Amesbury? That’s a joke. When Gray realizes he needs state and federal aid, who will he call? The reality is that the money stream just dried up. Keep dreaming if you think Ken Gray, with zero municipal experience and no political connections, can lower taxes and improve services.
In the meantime, the Heritage Park will be finished, the old DPW building will be gone, and hopefully, the Lower Millyard development will have started by the next election. Thankfully, Mayor Kezer left office with all the money in place to finish Heritage Park, realign Water Street and complete the DPW move. When Mayor Gray cuts the Heritage Park ribbon, Amesbury will have moved forward, yet taxes won’t have dropped, because nothing Gray does will lower them. If anything, they will most likely rise because he doesn’t have the connections to get the aid that Amesbury and every American city needs to survive.
What will Mayor Gray do with the dilapidated City Hall building and its failing roof? Will he allow his supporters to force him into kicking the can down the road because they won’t want to spend the money? The calling will be, “Don’t raise my taxes.” Truth be told, progress in Amesbury has now come to a dead stop, and nothing Gray does will move Amesbury forward because he and his supporters live in a world of deficit thinking, and he’s not going to have the connections to get the money, because he has no experience, and he is a Republican in a Democratic state. Political connections do matter, bigtime.
All Lower Millyard and recent progress in Amesbury has been the result of Thatcher Kezer’s intelligence, diligence, hard work and political connections. Future development, bolstered by state and federal aid, won’t happen under Mayor Gray because, in his inexperience and lack of political connections, he has nothing to offer, had nothing to offer as a candidate, and will improve nothing in the next two years. The next election won’t come soon enough for this voter. The problem is that there is no one in Amesbury who has the chops, intelligence or connections that Kezer had, and that is a huge loss for Amesbury. It will be years before progress in Amesbury begins again, and in the end, Gray’s three-vote win was a humongous loss for Amesbury, and time will prove it.
Bill Chatigny lives in Amesbury.